Ron Hansen dropped his 83-year-old father off at the front door of the Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Lake Wylie, and went to park his car.
A few steps later, Alfred Hansen had just passed through the first set of doors when he suffered a heart attack and collapsed.
Within seconds, Lowe’s employees Ben Crawford and Kelvin Nelson were administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
“His heart stopped,” said Ron Hansen, who lives in Clover. “That was an unexpected day.”
But for Crawford and Nelson – both seasoned firefighters – it was just another day out of years spent rescuing others.
Crawford, who lives in Belmont, has been a volunteer firefighter for eight years – six with the New Hope and two with the South Point departments in North Carolina.
Nelson, who lives in Charlotte, has worked for 23 years as a full-time firefighter with the Charlotte Fire Department. He works part-time at Lowe’s.
“I’ve done CPR many times, delivered babies, been at major wrecks and fires,” Nelson said. “Being able to save someone is fulfilling.
“Everyone should take a basic CPR course, because you never know when you’ll need it.”
That day back in March was the first time “I got anybody back,” Crawford said. “We were lucky we could get to him quickly.”
Both men also said they felt lucky they were both there and both well-trained.
“It definitely made it easier,” Nelson said. “Everything was clicking.”
“We both just knew what to do,” Crawford said.
The folks at the Lowe’s corporate office knew what to do, too, when they received word of Nelson’s and Crawford’s life-saving efforts. On Thursday, they recognized them with certificates of appreciation for helping to save Alfred Hansen’s life.
The “Hero Among Us” certificates, store manager Jeff Ledford said, are special and “extremely out of the ordinary.”
After the formalities were out of the way, Hansen shared photos of his father’s recovery with his rescuers. Seeing Alfred Hansen with his grandchildren, both firefighters said, was what they were happiest to see.
“As firefighters, we wait for someone to need (us) – we just didn’t expect it to happen here,” Crawford said. “To get someone to come back and tell you they made it, it’s unbelievable.”
“Thanks a lot guys,” Hansen said, adding that while his father is making a full recovery, other health issues kept him from attending Thursday’s celebration. “But he’d like to be here.”
The Lowe’s employees also were humbled by the company recognition.
“It’s not something we’re trying to be rewarded for,” Nelson said, “but it’s very nice to... be recognized.”