In the eyes of East Central University student Tracy Holman, university maintenance workers Keith Hopper and Jonathan Townsend are her heroes.
The pair was indeed in the right place at the right time.
“I know that the gentlemen who initially found me do not believe that they deserve anything for their heroic action. I, however, believe that their actions played a huge role in saving my life,” said Holman. “I am grateful that God put these men in my path and used them to save my life.”
Hopper and Townsend were not supposed to be changing air filters past 11 a.m. on K-Row in East Central University’s married student housing apartments on Nov. 8, 2012.
They had a normal routine in which they would promptly break for their lunch hour at 11 o’clock.
Not this day. They opted for a later lunch.
Call it divine intervention. The actions of Hopper and Townsend likely saved the life of Holman.
In breaking routine, they arrived at Holman’s door and knocked. But there was no answer. Sensing that someone was home and something was wrong, they unlocked the door and found Holman sprawled out on the floor and unconscious on the other side of the door.
Immediately, the pair sprang into action by calling 9-1-1. The calm, cool and collected Hopper then started chest compressions on Holman when he didn’t detect any breathing.
“I kept up the chest compressions and was about to the point where I was going to do mouth-to-mouth (resuscitation), but she finally started breathing,” said Hopper.
Townsend, who was a temporary worker at the time but is now full time at ECU, aided in the situation by holding Holman’s hand, until Emergency Medical Technicians arrived.
“If we would have waited until after lunch, she might not be alive right now. We decided to do (K-Row) before lunch,” Hopper said. “It was divine intervention in some way because we normally didn’t go over there until after lunch. On that day, I don’t normally do filters. Robert Martinez normally does it on that day. He said he was glad I was there and he wasn’t there that day.”
“We just happen to be there at the right time. It’s almost like we were led there,” Townsend said.
Hopper, who is 61 and has worked at ECU for eight years, is frequently involved in carpentry work and building maintenance, and Townsend, 24, who often serves as a painter, have frequently worked together as a dynamic duo.
However, Townsend, who was shaken up by the situation, didn’t report back to work that particular afternoon, something Hopper likes to give him a hard time about.
“We’ve been working well together, except for when he didn’t come back that afternoon,” Hopper joked.
According to Holman, emergency crews intubated her in the living room floor and she was later flown to Oklahoma City. Her heart stopped five times and doctors gave no hope to the family. She was finally stabilized and diagnosed with Bartter’s Disease, a kidney disease.