Thursday, January 19, 2017
DHS Grad Owes His Life To Guardian Angel Tony Hernandez
You never know who's assisting your guardian angel.
For one Dorchester native and DHS graduate, the helper was Tony Hernandez, who was recently honored with the Life Saving Award.
The story begins on a sunny, humid Saturday afternoon this past September when a couple was shopping at the Gateway Mall. When the wife noticed her 58-year-old husband had fallen, she scurried to check on him, only to find he was not breathing.
Panic set in. She yelled for help. Fortunately, Tony Hernandez was close by.
Hernandez began to administer CPR to the fallen man. He continued to do so for approximately five minutes until the arrival of emergency medical personnel from Lincoln Fire and Rescue.
Hernandez reported that several times during that time, the man would begin breathing on his own, then lapse again into cardiac arrest.
Ultimately, emergency medical personnel were able to regain a pulse on the victim. By the time he was transported to the Nebraska Heart Hospital, he was breathing on his own and speaking with his wife.
The man who suffered the heart attack and flirted with death was Kevin Znamenacek, a 1976 graduate of Dorchester High. He is the son of Lester and Joann Znamenacek, who owned and operated Znamenacek Implement Co. for many years from the 1960s to 1970s, selling and servicing Massey Ferguson, Hesston and other brands of farming machinery.
Sadly, Kevin's younger brother Gary, a 1978 DHS graduate, passed away just two years earlier at the age of 54. Gary's passing occurred during the same week as Kevin's heart attack.
As for Tony Hernandez, he's no stranger to helping others. He was an officer with the Lincoln Police Department for 22 years. Although retired, his selfless spirit and drive to help others has obviously not diminished.
If not been for Hernandez's immediate response in this situation and his willingness to step in, the end result would have likely been tragically different.
Thank God for guardian angels -- and their helpers.