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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