Modern Day Heroes

Matt Achter will never forget the two brave, quick-thinking men who saved his life.

Lucas Stroh, Deputy Aaron Geddes, Matt Achter and Dawn Stroh at the awards presentation Friday afternoon, June 6th.
Lucas Stroh, Deputy Aaron Geddes, Matt Achter and Dawn Stroh at the awards presentation Friday afternoon, June 6th.

By Maggie Piatz

Herald Staff Writer


May 31st is a day that Matt Achter will never forget. As one looks back over the events of that day, it is for obvious to all who know Matt that his time here on earth was not meant to end that day. Everything happened for a reason and everything fell into place for two local men to save his life.

About half way through the branding at the Mike Stroh ranch, Achter turned to his wife and told her “we need to go home.” Shawna Achter was surprised to hear this from him as he is usually the last man to leave a branding. When he repeated that he needed to go and now, Shawna became concerned. At that time, he collapsed.

Two men instrumental in saving Matt’s life were in the right place at the right time. While time seemed to move slowly for some, Lucas Stroh knew that time was of essence. He took control of the situation, telling someone to call 911 and asking his mom to get him a syringe. Having taken CPR classes he recognized the sign of a possible heart attack and he began to administer CPR. The syringe he asked for was to clear Matt’s mouth because he was concerned about not having clean hands to clear out the mouth area.

As Lucas continued CPR, Officer Aaron Geddes was driving close by and heard the 911 call. Off duty and on his way home, Geddes pulled into the Stroh yard to offer his assistance. He carried an AED which is a defibrillator that consists of delivering a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the heart. Geddes said, he administered one shock treatment and didn’t see a response so he made the decision to try one more time. This time they found a pulse. By the time the ambulance arrived a few minutes later he had a pulse and was breathing on his own. Achter’s wife, Shawna, said that those eleven minutes seemed forever.

“Because of the quick and smart response by all involved, Killdeer Area Ambulance manager, Ann Hafner, said “there’s Mr. Matt Achter standing right there.” Hafner said because Stroh’s and Geddes’ actions were “directly responsible” for the survival of Mr. Achter, she nominated them for the Lifesaving award presented to them on Friday.

Achter said there are no words to describe how thankful he is. “They gave me a second chance.”

The guests, who had gathered to see the awards presentation, were pleased to hear that the Killdeer Ambulance Board had voted to present Lucas Stroh with a $500 scholarship which covers the cost of the EMT training. Stroh had been waiting to be able to attend EMT training and was very happy to know that he could now begin.

Geddes has completed the EMT training and was scheduled to take his state practical exams on Saturday.

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