CUBA CITY—A heroic life-saving act was recognized on Saturday, Oct. 4, approximately 30 years after the event took place.
Jon Schultz, then 13, heard a thump from his sister’s bedroom at 6:45 a.m. on March 17, 1984. His sister, Kristin Schultz, then 7, had fallen out of her bed while having a grand mal seizure. Jon ran downstairs to wake up his parents to get help for his sister. Their father, Ron Schultz, carried Kristin downstairs while their mother, Jan Schultz, called the Cuba City Area Rescue Squad.
Kristin was unresponsive, not breathing and her fingers and toes were blue.
“That morning was really scary,” Jon said. “My mom was a little hysterical, as you could imagine. She did not know the number for the ambulance at that time. It was not 911 like it is now. My dad was pretty upset, too, and he tried to ventilate my sister a couple of times and was not able to do so. I just barged in and said I would take care of it.”
Jon, who had recently learned CPR in Boy Scouts, was able to resuscitate his sister before the Cuba City Area Rescue Squad arrived on the scene.
Kristin said at 13, Jon’s life experiences to test his response to situations like this were minimal.
“I think what Jon did was very remarkable,” Kristin said. “There are people who act in a time of panic and people who freeze. I’m lucky that Jon was one who actually acted… I’m lucky that my brother learned CPR and rescue in Boy Scouts and that he was able to act in that situation.”
On Saturday, the American Legion Post 775 presented Jon with a plaque that describes Jon’s lifesaving act. The Boy Scouts Troop 775 presented him with the Arrowhead District Lifesaving Award. Approximately 30 people attended the ceremony to recognize Jon’s actions 30 years ago.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him,” Kristin said. “I’d been sick for about a week before with fever, vomiting and headaches. My mom had taken me to the doctor. They said it was a viral illness and just to wait it out.”
Kristin was diagnosed with viral encephalitis, an infection affecting the entire brain, caused by a virus. It can cause seizures, respiratory oppression and death in 10 percent of cases. Kristin said usually 70 percent of children will have some sort of post-hospitalization complication, like permanent brain damage. She said she doesn’t remember much from the incident.
“Decisions that need to be made immediately can sometimes have long term impacts,” Kristin said. “Time loss is brain loss, it’s not just true in a stoke. It’s anything that causes you to have decreased oxygen to the brain. The longer you delay in acting, the more brain cells that die.”
Jon said the Boy Scout motto is to be prepared. One of the first things a Boy Scout is trained to do is CPR and first aid.
“You never know when something is going to happen to you and you’re going to have to act,” Jon said. “The CPR skill is one of the easiest ones you can learn. It’s something everyone should learn. You never know when you’re going to need it. It isn’t something you do for recognition, you do it because it’s the right thing to do. In this case, it was my sister, so, yeah, it was really the right thing to do. I’m glad it worked out and I’m glad that my sister is still here.”
Jon earned Eagle Scout, working his way through the ranks starting in 1982. He earned his Eagle Scout rank after completing his service project installing stairs from the parking lot to the football field at Cuba City High School.
Jon said he recently started one of his sons in Boy Scouts, too.
Jon and his wife, Robin, have three children and live in Eau Clair. He first started volunteering for the Cuba City fire and rescue squads before taking positions in Lake Geneva and Eau Clair. He is currently the deputy chief of emergency medical services for the Eau Claire Fire Department.
Kristin and her husband, John, have three children and live in the Marshfield area where she is a pediatrician at Marshfield Clinic.
“My brother was born to do this, you can tell by the actions he did that day and his career choices,” Kristin said.
Jon’s family made it a point to keep the ceremony a secret until the day of the event. Speakers included Don Gronemus of the Cuba City American Legion Post 775, Jim Brant of the Boy Scouts Troop 775, and Jon, Kristin and Ron Schultz.