East Lansing PACE Officer Saves MSU Student

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

MSU senior Robert Vankirk has had a rough month.

"When you're young, you don't really think that it could end at any moment," Vankirk said.

Vankirk was biking to school when his heart suddenly stopped and he collapsed just steps away from campus. Turns out., the 22 year old has an unknown pre-existing heart condition.

However, as fate would have it, an East Lansing Parking and Code Enforcement officer was nearby. He rushed to the scene and started performing CPR within seconds.

"If he hadn't been there, I wouldn't have my son," said Robert's mother Jayne Vankirk.

Since that day in June, they've been waiting to meet PACE officer Paul Weidner in person. When it finally happened, the reunion was emotional.

"I feel very fortunate that I had gone through the [CPR] training and had a lot of experience in that field. A hero? I don't know. I'm just thankful that I was there," said Weidner.

It was a humble response from Weidner, but for Robert and his mother, his training and quick thinking means a lot more.

"Just from being incapacitated on the ground with no blood flow to the brain I would've been brain dead by the time somebody had called the ambulance and it'd gotten there," said Vankirk.

He was taken to the hospital, went through heart surgery and says he feels almost back to normal.

"He's just been given a second chance and I know he'll make the best of it," said Weidner.

Weidner retired from the Lansing Police Department in 1998. He spent 25 years there and served in many roles including as a hostage negotiator and a detective in the robbery and homicide unit.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Jason Location: Jackson on Jul 30, 2012 at 09:24 AM
    Being a person with my own heart problems, I can say it is a blessing to know there are good people like this around. I still live a pretty normal life, but you always have some worry in the back of your mind, what if something happens. Kinda scary. Bless these people. Story with a great ending.
  • by Embarrassed Aggie Location: Dansville on Jul 27, 2012 at 05:05 PM
    Wow, Kelly. Of course he's being praised for saving a life. Public servant or not, saving a life is a big deal. You could probably just start by not being a jerk and work up to something bigger.
  • by Embarrassed Aggie Location: Dansville on Jul 27, 2012 at 05:04 PM
    Wow, Kelly. Of course he's being praised for saving a life. Public servant or not, saving a life is a big deal. You could probably just start by not being a jerk and work up to something bigger.
  • by Embarrassed Aggie Location: Dansville on Jul 27, 2012 at 05:03 PM
    Wow, Kelly. Of course he's being praised for saving a life. Public servant or not, saving a life is a big deal. You could probably just start by not being a jerk and work up to something bigger.
  • by kelly Location: dansville on Jul 27, 2012 at 04:14 PM
    Being praised for doing his public service job
    • reply
      by Josh on Jul 31, 2012 at 06:23 AM in reply to kelly
      Sounds like you need a little praise yourself, so here goes: "Good job always asking your customers if they would like fries with their order."
  • by J Location: Lansing on Jul 27, 2012 at 12:16 PM
    Best story ever!
  • by Linda Reasoner Location: Jackson MI on Jul 27, 2012 at 09:43 AM
    Another one of God's miracles. To both Mom and Son, we prayed hard for you and God's blessing were there for you, the officer and the doctors who repaired your heart so you can live to do his work and share his love to all of us.
  • by Tammy Location: Lansing on Jul 27, 2012 at 08:16 AM
    Thats public service doing a good job!
  • by Georgia Location: Lansing on Jul 27, 2012 at 05:47 AM
    Bless them both, it is nice to read happy news.
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