Orange Park Medical Center November 11, 2015

On July 29, 2015, Manager of ACE Hardware, Mitch Turner, quickly rushed to the aid of Mrs. Vivian Gessner, called 911 and provided CPR before EMS arrived. While his actions were executed as he was trained to do, unfortunately Mrs. Gessner did not survive. Out of the tragic passing of Mrs. Gessner, Orange Park Medical Center and Hagan ACE decided to join together to take steps to ensure more lifesaving skills were taught to ACE employees and to make sure an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was on premise should another member of the community experience a cardiac arrest or medical emergency.

Orange Park Medical Center presented Hagan ACE Hardware on Blanding Boulevard with an AED in memory of Vivian Gessner on October 6. Surrounded by several members of the Gessner family, the American Heart Association, local EMS from Clay County Fire and Rescue Units 15 and 17, hospital staff, and ACE employees, Laura Duke, Director of Cardiovascular Services, presented Vivian Gessner’s husband, Raymond Gessner, with a plaque in remembrance of his wife and presented the AED to the store. The dedication date is also special to Mr. Gessner as the day marks what would have been their 53rd wedding anniversary.

Having an AED on premise and using it until EMS arrives provides a much greater chance of survival. When someone collapses unresponsive, the first course of action is for a bystander to call 911 and retrieve the AED from the wall unit while another provides CPR until the AED is brought over for use. The AED will determine if a shock to the chest is warranted or if just CPR should be continued.

"The Gessner Family would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to both Hagan ACE Hardware, the first responders and the Orange Park Medical Center for all their efforts to help our mother, wife, and sister, Vivian”, said Susan Merritt. “It is a comfort to know that such caring and professional individuals were there for us in our time of need. We are also comforted to find that out of our tragedy, an opportunity to do good has been realized and acted upon. With the training of staff and the donation of the AED device we are sure many lives will be touched positively. Thank you."

The first part of this partnership was completed on September 17 when Orange Park Medical Center Cardiovascular Services staff provided Hands Only CPR Training to local ACE area managers who could then take these skills back and teach their store employees and ultimately, save lives. After the initial training, Bill Hagan, owner of Hagan ACE Hardware, is planning to take additional safety precautions and is looking at installing an AED into each of his seven Northeast Florida locations and will bring in Orange Park Medical Center to teach two additional Hands Only CPR Training Events for additional staff.

According to the American Heart Association, Immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation, with an automated external defibrillator (AED), can more than double a victim’s chance of survival.

“The quote ‘Out of tragedy comes hope’ comes to mind in regards to our partnership with Orange Park Medical Center”, said LaDonna Silcox, Director of Advertising and Human Resources at Hagan ACE Hardware. “The donation of the AED means a great deal to Hagan Ace and our staff. We are now even better prepared to handle an emergency in the future. Hagan Ace would like to thank the Gessner Family for allowing our new AED to be placed in memory of Mrs. Vivian Gessner. We would also like to extend a big Thank You to Orange Park Medical Center for their commitment to the local community.”

Hagan ACE Hardware in Orange Park is located at 1022 Blanding Blvd. Orange Park, FL 32065.