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This article was published 7/11/2011 (3359 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It was a tire change that ended up saving his life.
A Winnipeg man driving on a western Wisconsin highway had his kindness to a stranger repaid after the woman he helped to change a tire gave him CPR.
Indiana-bound Victor Giesbrecht, 61, a father of four from Winnipeg, was driving east Saturday evening on Interstate 94 in northwestern Wisconsin when he stopped to help cousins Sara Berg and Lisa Meier, both of Eau Claire, get rolling again.
Good deed accomplished, and just minutes after getting back behind the wheel, Giesbrecht was stricken with a heart attack.
His wife, Ann, at his side helped bring their pickup truck to a stop.
Seemingly right on cue, along came the car he had just helped get back on the road.
Ann Giesbrecht was on the phone and waving her arms in search of help.
The car stopped, 911 was called and Berg began cardiopulmonary resuscitation until emergency personnel arrived.
"I talked to Sara on Sunday night and told her, 'You actually saved his life,' " Giesbrecht said Monday in a statement issued by Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, where Victor was in serious condition.
As for her husband deciding to pull over and help with the tire change, Giesbrecht said Victor "always wants to stop" and help when he sees stranded motorists. "He's the type of person who gives you 100 per cent and worries about himself later."
Family in Winnipeg said they were grateful for the assistance offered.
Allan Giesbrecht, Victor Giesbrecht's brother, said Victor worked as a truck driver "hauling trailers" from the U.S. to Canada.
"There's some good people out there," said Giesbrecht, who said he was "grateful" his brother received assistance.
"When you're on the road, you never know what can happen."
Trooper Kate Sampson was the first law-enforcement officer to arrive on scene at the emergency and learned from Berg that Victor Giesbrecht "had no pulse and was not breathing."
Two Dunn County sheriff's deputies soon followed and helped Sampson move Giesbrecht to the shoulder, with the truck acting as a buffer with passing traffic. That's where Sampson began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while Berg continued with chest compressions. Deputy Scott Pace used an automated external defibrillator (AED), which includes real-time verbal directives, to deliver shocks to Giesbrecht.
"I did exactly what the AED told us to do, and that was shock," Pace said.
At one point, he added, "the AED analyzed the patient while CPR was going on and advised another shock."
A medical helicopter landed on the interstate and whisked Giesbrecht to the Eau Claire hospital.
After the scene calmed down, Berg and Meier told Sampson "they saw the red truck that had just helped them was on the shoulder... and (Giesbrecht's) wife was on the shoulder waving her hands around."
"It was a team event" that saved Giesbrecht's life in a situation where "every minute counted," said Sheriff Dennis Smith. "(Deputy Pace) said, 'I don't know why they are making such a big deal about it.' "
State Patrol Sgt. Michael Newton said he believes if the Giesbrechts hadn't stopped and helped with the tire change, Berg might have remained stranded along the side of the highway too long to play her life-saving role.
"If he had been a few more miles down the road... it could have been a different outcome," Newton said, adding Giesbrecht had been similarly stricken about a year earlier. "It's an interesting turn of fate."