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Huber Heights teen recognized for saving neighbor’s life

Mitchell Townsend holds his community service award. CONTRIBUTED
Mitchell Townsend holds his community service award. CONTRIBUTED

A Huber Heights teenager was recognized this week for saving his neighbor’s life in August.

Mitchell Townsend, 19, saved the life of his next door neighbor, Robert Heath.

“I probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him,” Heath said.

Townsend went to help Heath move furniture. Soon after he arrived, Heath started complaining about shortness of breath and chest pains. Townsend immediately jumped into action, running back to his house to call 911.

When he got back to his neighbor’s house, Heath had gone into cardiac arrest.

He works at the Huber YMCA as a life guard and, thankfully, knows CPR, said Huber Heights fire chief Mark Ashworth.

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Townsend performed CPR on his neighbor until paramedics got to the home.

“Mitchell did everything right,” Ashworth said.

Huber Heights on Monday gave Townsend a community service award at its city council meeting. Ashworth said first responders rarely get to know the outcomes for their patients, so when Heath called the Huber Heights fire department and told them what happened and that he wanted Townsend to be recognized, they were happy to oblige.

“Mitchell did good,” Ashworth said. “And I am extremely proud that we have citizens willing to do that.”

Chris Lindeman, executive director of YMCA at the Heights, said Townsend was an “important cog” in the chain of survival, a term that refers to the series of actions that reduce mortality after cardiac arrest.

People who go into cardiac arrest and have a bystander perform CPR have a 10% to 20% better chance of survival, Ashworth said.

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The Huber Heights fire department teaches CPR classes about once a month. Ashworth urged Miami Valley residents to check the American Red Cross website for classes or check with their local fire jurisdictions for classes.

“I recommend everyone understand the basic mechanics of CPR,” Ashworth said. “You just never know when someone could go down.”