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A true Take heart Woodbury hero: Teen saves dad's life with hands-only CPR

Jesse Galloway received a certificate of appreciation for saving his dad's life with hands-only CPR.

It's scary enough for a bystander to witness a stranger go into cardiac arrest, let alone a son watching his father go through the ordeal.

A Cottage Grove family was just getting home from a softball game between Park and Woodbury high schools when Tim Galloway began feeling chest pain.

He didn't think anything of it and sat there on the couch ranting about his home team's loss with his wife Lori and son Jesse.

Suddenly the chest pains turned into something more and Tim went into cardiac arrest.

Frantically running around trying to figure out what to do, Lori went to the kitchen to dial 911. By the time she got back into the living room she saw Jesse doing chest compressions on his dad.

The May 11 incident happened just a couple of months after the 14-year-old learned hands-only CPR at church.

Jesse didn't think twice when he saw his father, 45, unresponsive. Before the dispatcher advised them to begin CPR, he was already doing it.

"He just couldn't let his dad go," Lori Galloway said. "He wanted to do everything he could to save his dad's life."

About five minutes go by before help arrives, she said, which felt like a lot longer, but they were the most critical in eliminating further brain damage.

"The chest compressions not only saved him, but saved his quality of life," Lori Galloway said.

Jesse took the hands-only CPR class at Crossroads Church in Woodbury. It was part of the "Take Heart" campaign the Woodbury Public Safety Department began last year to train 7,000 area residents hands-only CPR in case an incident just like this one occurred.

"I had no idea that he had taken the class," Lori Galloway said. "I think it was meant to be. The timing was perfect."

Jesse was honored by campaign organizers and given a certificate of appreciation Wednesday at the Woodbury City Council meeting.

Calling him "a true Take heart Woodbury hero" Angela Kain, a firefighter/EMT and champion of the efforts, personally related to Jesse, making her that much more appreciative of his quick thinking.

"My dad unfortunately had a sudden cardiac arrest and he didn't make it," she said.

Kain is hopeful that Jesse's story and others alike will spark more Take Heart campaigns in neighboring communities, increasing victims' survival rate that much more.

Woodbury began its Take Heart campaign in February 2012 with a goal to teach a little over 10 percent of the population hands-only CPR.

With training at schools, churches, nonprofit organizations and businesses, as well as public community events like Woodbury Days, more than 7,000 now know how to perform hands-only CPR.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.