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Publix employees honored for heroic actions

Publix employees honored for heroic actions. (WPEC)

Some Publix employees are being honored for their heroic actions that saved the life of a co-worker.

They used a defibrillator to help keep him alive until paramedics got there.

Jon Powell, a meat cutter at Publix in West Palm Beach, says he wouldn’t be alive if not for two female co-workers at Publix.

Monday night, they were both given a key to the city by the mayor of West Palm Beach and city commissioners and they were recognized for their efforts.

“I’m just glad to be here and I really don’t know what else to say. I mean everybody else, so many people jumped in to help. I’m grateful for that,” Powell said.

It was a real-life emergency at the Publix, 831 Village Boulevard, March 4, when Powell, 56, had a heart attack and collapsed on the floor in front of the meat section of the store.

“I kinda put my arms on his chest and was pounding, you know, stay with me Jon, stay with me,” said Erika Serkin, Publix store manager.

Another employee rushed over to help.

“I saw him on the floor, and Erika was there and she said something about CPR and it’s all kind of a blur from there, I just went into action and gave him CPR,” said Christina Holbrook, Publix grocery clerk.

“I did mouth to mouth and Christina did the chest compressions on him and we worked as a team,” Serkin said.

Another employee ran to get the store’s defibrillator or AED and handed it to the two women.

“We applied the AED machine to him and you press a button on it and it tells you step by step what you need to do,” Serkin said.

They gave him at least two shocks with the defibrillator while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

The women are glad they had the training to use the defibrillator when every second counted.

“The training right away kicked in,” said Serkin.

“It was scary. I was like I’m not gonna stop until somebody gets there that can get him where he needs to go,” Holbrook said.

Jon spent about 10 days in the hospital and had quadruple bypass surgery.

He says he owes a lot to those two quick-thinking co-workers.

“Thank God that we have people that care enough that does this for people and they jumped right into action,” Powell said.

“I’m happy that everything turned out the way it did,” Holbrook said.

Serkin said the management team at each Publix store goes through annual training on the use of the defibrillator.

Powell has worked at Publix for about 6 years and is still recovering at home.

He hopes to go back to work in about a month.


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