By Laura Ingalls
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Gabe Chernov and Mark Burdick didn't expect to be heroes when they went to work out, but they ended up saving a local pastor's life.
The two freshman Zeta Beta Tau members performed cardiopulmonary-resuscitation on the Rev. Don Haase of Faith Lutheran Church Sept. 22 until paramedics could arrive.
"Gabe and I will never forget when the paramedics told us, 'if it wasn't for you guys he wouldn't be around,'" Burdick said.
Haase, 47, and the Rev. John D. Kautz of the Campus Christian Center were taking a break from their first set of racquetball when Haase fell to the ground in cardiac arrest, Kautz said. The two fraternity members, who are also pre-medical students, responded to Kautz's cries for help and Chernov began CPR on Haase while Burdick monitored his pulse. When they began CPR, Haase had no pulse and was not breathing.
After four minutes of CPR, Haase began breathing on his own and he was taken to University Medical Center for treatment. Haase, who has been recovering from a minor heart surgery, is scheduled to return home Wednesday.
Bill Watts of the American Red Cross said that when CPR is performed on someone undergoing cardiac arrest, there is about a 60 percent chance the victim will not survive.
Haase and his wife Joan, a nursing professor, met with Chernov and Burdick yesterday for the first time at UMC in an emotional reunion.
"These are my heroes," Haase told a lobby of people on the cardiac wing. "These are the men that saved my life."
The two students said there were many trivial factors that led to them being in the recreation center at the time of Haase's emergency, one of which was an unpaid intramural football fine which the center waived after their heroic feat.
"I believe God puts people in the right place at the right time," Haase said.
Burdick said he agreed. "God must have really been watching you."
Chernov learned CPR as a lifeguard in Milwaukee but neither he nor Burdick had per- formed the lifesaving technique in an emergency situation.
"I always knew it was important to know but now I've done it and knowing he has a family and that he can go home to them . I had a friend whose father died when he was young and to be able to save someone from going through that is adequate enough," Chernov said.
Burdick, a Chicago native who learned CPR as a climbing instructor, said the experience has brought he and Chernov closer.
"We're like brothers now . When you're working with life it's instant bonding," Burdick said. "I think everyone should learn CPR. It's simple and easy and it's a tool everyone should carry around with them," Burdick said.
The fraternity members' deed has sparked the interest of the president of the Interfraternity Council, Dan Cunningham who said he may look into offering CPR courses among the Greek community.
"As the Greek community, we should be tremendously proud of them and especially ZBT," Cunningham said.
"Those guys are heroes. That sort of behavior typifies what the Greek community stands for. I think those type of men make up the bulk of fraternities, it's just a few bozos that make it into Police Beat that ruin it."
CPR classes are available through the American Red Cross. Call 623-0541 for more information.
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