DE PERE, WI -- When seconds meant life or death for one St. Norbert runner, two coaches and a teammate worked fast to save his life.
Tonight, De Pere's Mayor says they're hometown heroes.
Emergency responders are also praising their efforts, and hoping the incident promotes the use of an automatic external defibrillator, or A.E.D.
It's simple to use, found in many public spaces, and it can save your life.
In 22-year-old Stephen Sheperd's case, he's thankful someone was there to operate it when he went into cardiac arrest.
For St. Norbert track and field athletes, it was the first practice of the new year.
"There's about 90 kids in here, doing their interval workouts," says men's and women's assistant track and field coach Megan Kuehl.
Across the gym, Kuehl spots Shepard alone, on his back.
"I went over to check on him," says Kuehl, "at that point he was seizing."
"I drank a sip of water, and then all of a sudden I just, kind of, fell to the ground," recalls Sheperd, adding that this is his second cardiac arrest.
Kuehl, assistant coach Hayden Hoffmann, and student Angel Hon wasted no time in searching for a pulse.
Finding none, Hoffmann started chest compressions.
"Angel had gotten the A.E.D.," says Kuehl, "she got it hooked up."
De Pere firefighter Tom Nelson was part of the responding team.
"If they did not act, the potential is real that he would've died," says Nelson.
He says more civilians can save more lives if they act fast, call 911, and seek out an A.E.D., which is required in any space for 50 or more people.
"They're everywhere, and they're simple to use," says Nelson, adding you can find them in malls, airports, movie theaters, and every emergency response vehicle on the road. "They're programmed to the 5th grade comprehension level."
"If i wasn't around the people that saved me , it would be a whole different story," says Sheperd, "so I'm glad to be here."
De Pere firefighters say they're paying close attention to legislation right now that would require all high school students to know CPR, and how to use the A.E.D., upon graduation.