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‘A Christmas Miracle’ — Calhoun Jewelers employees, first responders save manager’s life

Employees, first responders save victim of massive heart attack

By Marian Dennis,, @MarianDennis1 on Twitter

Friday, December 22, 2017

ROYERSFORD >> When an employee at Calhoun Jewelers had a massive heart attack on the job, he was lucky to have coworkers and first responders to step in.

Cathy Calhoun, owner of Calhoun Jewelers in Royersford, said the help her employees and area police and EMTs provided to one of her managers when he suddenly fell to the floor and lost a pulse was nothing short of a miracle.

Calhoun said one of her managers, Richard Connell, had been speaking with another employee, Jennie Lukens, when he suddenly fell as he turned to speak to Lukens.

“It started with my two employees because he had been in the goldsmith shop in the back room. He was going to sit down, turned around to look at her and he just fell. She went over to check his pulse because she had been trained in CPR and he had no pulse,” said Calhoun.

It was then that Lukens called for another employee and both began CPR as 911 was called. Within minutes, Royersford Police Officer David Taylor showed up at the store and administered an AED. Shortly after, Connell regained consciousness. Ambulances were on scene within 5 minutes of dispatch, according to Lenny Brown EMS Supervisor/Public Information Officer with Friendship Ambulance.

First responders used a LUCAS machine, a hands-free chest compression device, to continue CPR on Connell.

He was then transported by Friendship Ambulance to the hospital.

“He was on life support for the first week and they operated immediately at Phoenixville Hospital. It turned out it was his main artery,” said Calhoun. “The surgeon said only 5 to 6 percent of people survive a heart attack like this. EMTs said it was because Jennie did CPR immediately that saved him.”

Calhoun added that one of the EMTs had arrived in minutes after he was notified via a phone app of someone who needed medical attention only a few blocks away.

“Four ambulances, police and our employees helped. It was such a fantastic group effort that went flawlessly,” said Calhoun. “The whole town came in to save this guy’s life.”

As for Connell, he is in the process of recovering from the Nov. 30 heart attack but Calhoun says there have been no major side effects and he is eager to return to work.

“He is so good he wants to come back to work. He is talking, walking. He has two twin daughters and he went to their recital recently,” said Calhoun. “As soon as his doctor allows him to come back he can come back.”

Calhoun admitted that the first few weeks after the incident were difficult but things got better once they learned that Connell was making improvements.

“To think that all those things could work that perfectly is a miracle,” said Calhoun. “It’s a Christmas miracle. For us at Calhoun Jewelers and for his family.”