LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -A group of City of Lawton employees were recognized for helping to save the life of a co-worker who had a heart attack while on the job.
During Tuesday night's City Council meeting, the City of Lawton honored eight members of the Public Works Street Department with the Employee Spotlight Award. The award is given each month to city employees as a way to acknowledge those who go above and beyond the everyday scope of their responsibilities.
The eight workers say it's a miracle that their co-worker, Matthew Wozniak, is here today, not only because of the heart attack, but because he collapsed face first into 360 degree asphalt.
Wozniak was part of a nine-man team laying asphalt at the intersection of Southwest Sheridan Road and 'J' Avenue. He said he felt nothing out of the ordinary that would have led him to believe he was about to collapse. In fact, he says he had a physical a few weeks earlier and everything checked out fine.
"Took a deep breath and woke up wondering where I was and what was going on and why I was laying on the ground and to see familiar faces calmed me down," Wozniak said.
Rick Carlson, one of the co-workers that helped tend to Wozniak that day, said he and his co-workers didn't notice anything unusual either, but they were terrified at the sight of their colleague lying in the extremely hot asphalt that had just been laid.
"Got him up out of the asphalt, kept talking to him making sure he knew where he was at and what we were doing. We kept him calm until ER personnel came on the scene," Carlson said.
Carlson said they shook Wozniak to see if he would regain consciousness, and he did within seconds, so they didn't need to perform CPR to revive him and waited for paramedics to arrive.
After Wozniak was taken to the hospital, doctors found a blockage of more than 95 percent in one of the arteries connected to his heart.
"They put a stent in my heart, medication of course and they said everything is good. I've got the heart of a 30-year-old man," Wozniak said.
Wozniak spent one night in the hospital before going home. He says he's humbled and forever indebted to the band of honorable brothers who were there for him when he needed them most. He calls them his heroes, and if you ask him why, he'll simply tell you…
"They saved my life."
Wozniak says he doesn't have any complications following his heart attack. As far the burn to his face from falling in the asphalt, he says it only took about four days to heal. He credits his eczema with healing that burn, because that condition produces an overabundance of skin cells that quickly replaced the damaged ones.