Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools mechanic Calvin Cornelius (third from left) was assisted by his coworkers when he had a heart attack on the job. (Shown left to right: Mitchell Edwards, Buddy Marino, and Martin Piedra.) - Photo courtesy Gwinnett County Public Schools

Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools mechanic Calvin Cornelius (third from left) was assisted by his coworkers when he had a heart attack on the job. (Shown left to right: Mitchell Edwards, Buddy Marino, and Martin Piedra.)

Photo courtesy Gwinnett County Public Schools

Three mechanics recently sprung into action to help their coworker, who was having a heart attack, in the bus shop of a Georgia school district.

On Sept. 8, Mitchell Edwards, Buddy Marino, and Martin Piedra, were working in the maintenance shop of the Gwinnett County Public Schools transportation department when Piedra spotted their coworker, mechanic Calvin Cornelius, fall to the floor under a bus in a bay.

The three men ran over to Cornelius and noticed that he was struggling to breathe. He then stopped breathing completely, Wendy Pruitt, a driver trainer for the district, who received information about the incident from the mechanics, told School Bus Fleet.

According to accounts of the incident that the mechanics shared with SBF, Marino called 911 and Edwards explained the situation while Piedra and Marino started administering CPR. Piedra began doing chest compressions first. Although he tried as hard as he could, Cornelius’s chest was tight, making it hard to compress his lungs. After a few seconds, his muscles relaxed and Piedra and Marino were able to get better compressions.

Edwards sent other mechanics to wait for the first responders, who took over CPR when they arrived. They were able to revive Cornelius, who was diagnosed with a heart attack. He is still recovering and is not back to work yet, but is doing well overall, he told SBF.

Marino, Piedra, and Edwards, who have all worked together over the last few years, received an award from the American Heart Association and from the Emergency Response Training and Support Service on Oct. 14.

Marino said that the training he received from the district helped him to respond quickly; Piedra noted the same thing about the First Aid training he received while serving in the military.

The transportation department at Gwinnett County Public Schools trains all staff, from those in its fleet department to bus managers and monitors to trainees to service center staff every two years on CPR, First Aid, and “Stop the Bleed,” a training program conducted by Gwinnett County nurses, Pruitt said.

“With each person we train, we talk about the importance of what could happen,” Pruitt said. “Whether at work, home, or even shopping, you might just use this training.”

She also expressed her pride at her coworkers’ efforts to go above and beyond for Cornelius.

“The three gentleman never hesitated, but just jumped into action to help,” she added. “Because of this, Calvin is here today to see his family and friends.”

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