- Christy Geiger was delivering newspapers the morning of April 24 when she found a North Canton resident on the ground.
- She called 911 and performed CPR until help arrived.
- The resident, Bob Bertsch, and his daughter consider the newspaper carrier to be a hero.
NORTH CANTON − Christy Geiger was a little behind schedule for her Repository delivery route when she pulled into the driveway of Bob Bertsch’s home on Woodside Avenue NE.
She drove around to the back door, where Bertsch asked her to throw the paper, and saw him on the ground trying to get up. Geiger’s boyfriend, Chris Oshell, got out and helped him sit on the back of a truck.
“And then you just went face down,” Geiger said, recalling the day she saved Bertsch’s life a month ago. They reunited last week for the first time in person.
A fateful morning
It was a chilly but clear Monday morning on April 24. Bertsch, 85, went outside before breakfast to put air in the tires of his trailer.
“The last thing I really remember, I had that air compressor on wheels and I was trying to get it over that hump or the crack in the driveway,” he said.
Bertsch was debating whether to rest inside or outside when he collapsed. When Oshell shouted that he had no pulse, Geiger called 911 and rushed to his aid. She attended a CPR class six years ago when she cared for people with developmental disabilities but never used what she learned until then.
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Geiger thought of her father, who was unable to be revived by CPR when he had a heart attack in 2019 at a gas station.
“So I kept thinking when I was doing CPR, ‘This is someone’s dad. This is someone’s dad,'” she said.
She felt something crack during chest compressions and hoped it was a button.
“Hold on, hold on! They’re coming, please hold on!” Geiger screamed at Bertsch.
After about 65 chest compressions, a North Canton ambulance arrived. Geiger moved away as a man jumped out with a bag and ran “like something off the movies” to continue CPR.
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Bertsch’s daughter, Kathy Eudy, was training to be a bus driver nearby at North Canton Hoover High School. She saw her dad enter the garage and a car pull into the driveway but didn’t realize anything was amiss until she saw emergency vehicle after emergency vehicle.
“I ran as fast as I could through the backyard,” Eudy said.
A heartfelt reunion
The first thing Bertsch remembered after waking in the hospital was learning that doctors had placed a stint in him.
“I guess it was a heart attack,” he said.
Bertsch had triple bypass surgery in 2009 but no problems since, other than tiring more easily. He’s still “fairly active” around the house and mows his own yard and one of his daughter’s.
All three of his children live nearby. Bertsch, who was a volunteer firefighter for North Canton about 40 years ago, has four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
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After spending a couple of days in the hospital, Bertsch was released home. He was sore from the CPR but had no broken ribs.
Bertsch has had nurse and physical therapist visits at home several times a week and a heart checkup soon to determine whether he needs to continue therapy.
“At least I’m upright,” he said.
Bertsch called Geiger his “guardian angel” and “hero” when they reunited. Eudy also praised her actions and said it was fortunate Geiger pulled into the driveway when she did.
“It’s hard to find a card to say thank you for saving somebody’s life,” Eudy said after she and Bertsch gave Geiger flowers and a card.
Geiger, a Jackson Township resident who still finished her newspaper deliveries after the ordeal, said she doesn’t consider herself a hero. She thinks anyone capable would do the same.
“I’m just glad that he’s OK,” Geiger said.
Reach Kelly at 330-580-8323 or email@example.com.
On Twitter: @kbyerREP