For Get the Beat Day, MPS honors safety aide who saved father-in-law’s life

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee Public Schools is honoring a school safety aide who used his district CPR training to save his father-in-law’s life.

The honor for Greg Tezak, who serves as a safety aide at MPS’ Pulaski High School, comes as MPS celebrates its 7th-annual ‘Get the Beat Day’ to hold AED drills and raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest.

Tezak was picking up his son Taylor from a January sleepover with the boy’s grandparents when the training Tezak received just a few months ago turned into a lifesaving effort.

Greg Tezak, pictured with his son and his father-in-law

Greg Tezak, pictured with his son and his father-in-law

“My son went to give my father-in-law a hug – and all of a sudden, [my father-in-law] just collapsed,” the 46-year-old MPS safety aide said.

“I asked him, ‘are you OK?’ He wasn’t responding,” Tezak said. “I listened for a breath and felt for a pulse. There was nothing, so we called 911” – and the school safety aide began using his training and performing CPR.

First responders arrived shortly thereafter with an AED, but a cardiac surgeon told Tezak that his father-in-law likely would not have survived without the safety aide’s CPR.

“If I wouldn’t have had this training, he wouldn’t have made it,” Tezak said. “I thank my supervisor, Scott Hirsh, for giving me that training.”

The Milwaukee man said his father-in-law is now doing well.

Thursday marks the seventh straight year MPS has held Get the Beat Day during National Heart Month. School emergency response teams use the day to rehearse their response to cardiac arrest. The teams include administrators, teachers, secretaries, cafeteria staff and engineering staff.

As many as 350,000 Americans die each year from sudden cardiac arrest. Every two minutes, a sudden cardiac death occurs. That’s nearly 1,000 people per day.

Since the creation of MPS’ AED program in August 2005 prompted in part by Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Project ADAM, there have been seven instances of sudden cardiac arrests in MPS schools. Four of the incidents – two involving students – resulted in lives saved.