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A car salesperson to the rescue?

Jordan Turner is back at O’Brien Kia in Bloomington, Ill., after collapsing on the job in October.

Oct. 19, 2017, was a scary day for O’Brien Kia of Bloomington, Ill.

Jordan Turner, a porter at the dealership, was getting a car ready for delivery when he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed.

Employees, one a volunteer firefighter and the other a former Mayo Clinic worker, began performing CPR on the 20-year-old after not being able to find a pulse. Paramedics from the Bloomington Fire Department arrived soon after. Still no pulse.

The paramedics continued to perform CPR along with using an automated external defibrillator. Turner still had no pulse when he was taken away in the ambulance. On the way to the hospital, Turner’s pulse came back and doctors continued to work on him when he arrived.

Fortunately, Turner made it through and was admitted to the intensive care unit. Physicians embedded an internal defibrillator in Turner afterward.

The near-tragedy made an impact on Ryan Gremore, president of the O’Brien Auto Team. Gremore decided that if another medical emergency ever took place at one of his stores, staffers would have the tools and training to address it.

The incident taught him that “anything can happen.”

Gremore: Could make big impact

So the company’s four stores in Illinois teamed with the American Red Cross to provide CPR and AED training. Gremore said the group has installed four AEDs at its stores, which cost about $1,500 apiece. Gremore said his goal is to have 75 percent of his 135 full-time employees CPR-trained and certified.

“We made that investment,” Gremore told Automotive News. “We’re going to cover the costs of training for our people.”

The first wave of training took place this year, with 60 percent of staffers now CPR- and AED-certified. One of those staffers was Turner. After his harrowing experience, Turner now has the ability to step up during a medical emergency and possibly save a life one day.

Turner wasn’t out of commission for long after his ordeal. He was allowed to handle limited work after 31 days.

He couldn’t drive cars early in his recovery as a precaution, so he moved into a sales role, where Gremore said he’s excelling.

Turner, now 21, said his goal is “to become a better salesperson and make a career out of it, become really good at it, financially stable.” Turner added that he’d love to own a dealership one day.

Gremore said the first-aid training is something that could make an impact outside of his stores.

“It’s like having first responders on site,” said Gremore, who was a lifeguard in his teenage years.

“Having those people in your organization trained and prepared is going to do nothing but make the work environment even better. Having an employee get trained at a dealership for first aid response can save the life of somebody outside the office.”


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