Bill Schlies of Carmel, IN doesn’t see himself as a Good Samaritan nor does he see his actions as heroic or unlike anyone else. The character trait of a Good Samaritan is personified by the conscious choices that we make daily to do the right thing to live a loving life. Are you a Good Samaritan or someone who doesn’t care about yourself or others?
Have you ever thought about what Jesus is trying to say in Luke’s gospel? The name of the parable of the Good Samaritan is never mentioned by Jesus. Bible scholars and translators attached the name because they saw man as the Good Samaritan, one who goes above and beyond where most people would go.
The words in Luke’s gospel are worth noting, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
There are four unique forms of love in the Bible that are characterized by ancient Greek words that express romantic love, family love, brotherly love and God’s divine love. Philia or brotherly love in scripture cultivates love for fellow humans, care, respect or compassion for someone in need.
On June 20, 2017, Jeff Utzinger went outside to run in his neighborhood. Jeff was physically, emotionally and spiritually stable, or so he thought. Married for twenty years and blessed with three children, a lacrosse coach for the Catholic Youth Organization and an active parishioner and liturgical minister at Saint Louis de Montfort Parish, Jeff exercised regularly to reduce stress and to avoid health issues.
That same morning Bill Schlies was in his car heading to work. On the drive out of his neighborhood Bill saw what appeared to be a man laying on the sidewalk. Bill stopped his car immediately and get out. As he got closer, he realized the man he saw was not breathing so he called 911. What would you have done?
The dispatcher quickly determined there was no time to lose and talked Bill through administering CPR to the unconscious man, something Bill had never done. After giving about 100 chest compressions and stopping after every 30 compressions to check for a pulse that never came, a local police officer showed up with an AED which started Jeff’s heart.
What is an AED?
An AED is a portable Automated External Defibrillator used to restart someone’s heart in the event of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). You could think of it as your car with a dead battery that needs a jump start.
What is SCA?
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is caused by a structural or electrical issue in the heart, often from an undetected heart condition, and in other instances, from an infection or a severe blow to the chest. In 95% of SCA instances, lives of the victim are lost.
To survive SCA, the victim must receive life-saving defibrillation from an AED within the first four to six minutes of the attack. Every minute that passes without a shock from an AED decreases the chance of survival by 10%. Administering hands-only CPR can be a bridge to life until an AED arrives. 95% of those who suffer from SCA die because CPR and defibrillation usually occur too late, if at all. If CPR and an AED are applied within 5 minutes, at least 40,000 more lives per year could be saved.
According to the American Heart Association, “anyone can experience SCA, including infants, children, teens, young adults and people in their 30s and 40s who have no sign of heart disease, as well as more mature adultAlthough the reported incidence in youth is less than adults, SCA is not a rare occurrence. In fact, SCA affects about 16 people under the age of 18 every day. An AED can mean the difference between life and death. SCA is not a heart attack.”
After Jeff was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, Bill was left in the grass by himself with tears rolling down his face. So many questions ran through Bill’s mind. The hardest part was trying to make sense out of what just happened.
The beauty in every journey is to witness God at work. By weaving the life of Jeff into the arms of a Good Samaritan named Bill, two neighbors, two complete strangers are drawn together in trial unequivocally. What happened simultaneously is not only miraculous but one of the greatest virtues that only God can give, philia or brotherly love.
For Jeff, the days in a hospital bed turned into weeks of pleading with God for answers. “When I learned of the 6% survival rate, I completely surrendered with an attitude of gratitude. God spoke to me in a way that no one else could have. My faith and trust in Him heightened and I know now that it was His way of proving that He is in control,” Jeff added.
Jeff’s journey can be marked by raw numbers provided by the American Heart Association:
1. Only 1 in 10 victims survive Sudden Cardiac Arrest
2. More people could survive SCA if bystanders gave CPR and had access to AED’s immediately
3. SCA strikes 356,000 seemingly healthy people a year including 7,000 children and teens
Unlike SCA, a heart attack is caused by impeded blood flow through the heart. As noted by the Institute of Medicine, the SCA survival rate has remained stagnant for the last three decades because we aren’t as prepared as we should be to save a life.
‘Be Like Bill’ is a campaign about a Good Samaritan as well as a mission to help spread the critical use of AED’s used for SCA. Jeff affirmed, “in an undeniable moment God called me to educate people about prevention strategies and how to take immediate action in the case of a cardiac emergency. Ordinary people like you and me, police officers, schools, sports complexes and business organizations are thankfully helping to increase the survival statistics.” The campaign ‘Be Like Bill’ is led by Jeff and his growing team that has one goal in mind, to equip more organizations with AED’s.
You are invited to be an integral part of ‘Be Like Bill’ at the 8th Annual, 2019 ‘Bolt for the Heart’ 5K Run/ Walk that takes place on Thanksgiving day in Carmel, Indiana.
You can register at:
Last year statistics speak to the critical need:
• 3,300 people participated – 22% year over year growth
• $200,000 raised to save lives and 134 AED’s donated to Indiana State Police
• 100% of the proceeds purchased AED’s
Giving back is part of Jeff’s ethos. A big believer in supporting ‘Bolt for the Heart’ Jeff serves on the Board of Director’s where his heart shines most. The 2019 ‘Bolt for the Heart’ objective is to provide AED’s for patrol car’s in 92 counties throughout the state of Indiana.
Does your church, school or organization need an AED?
October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest awareness month. If you would like to schedule an event at your school, church or organization please contact Jeff Utzinger at JeffU@HeartReachMedical.com or call 317-698-2225
Jeff said, “I’ll never be able to repay this debt, but I am blessed to be a small part of something much greater than myself… Be Like Bill.”