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Citizens honored with F-M Ambulance Lifesaving Awards

Fargo police Officer Shawn Gamradt, nurses Cindy Troftgruben and Nicole Christensen visit with Roxanne Burnside, right. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO - When Ross Balstad saw 54-year-old Jeffrey Dahl slip off a treadmill and onto the floor, Balstad immediately thought Dahl could be having a heart attack.

He sprang into action.

Balstad said he didn't want Dahl's children to get a phone call like the one he received nine years ago, telling him his father was dead from a sudden heart attack.

Dahl was working out at the Schlossman YMCA in Fargo on the evening of Oct. 9 when he suddenly fell from the treadmill he was using.

Balstad fetched YMCA staffer Ryan Narlock while Amber Bach-Gorman, who was also near Dahl when he collapsed, went to his aid.

The three strangers used CPR and an AED machine to help bring Balstad back to life with the help of F-M Ambulance paramedics who soon arrived on scene.

AED machines are portable electronic devices that can send a shock to the heart and restore natural rhythms.

Today, Dahl is nearing a full recovery, but it was the three strangers' quick actions that he and F-M Ambulance members credit with saving his life.

On Wednesday evening, Dahl presented a big hug and the F-M Ambulance Lifesaving Awards to Balstad, Bach-Gorman and Narlock.

F-M Ambulance Operations Manager Don Martin said Wednesday that sudden cardiac arrest, which is what Dahl suffered, is the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Martin said its individuals such as Dahl, Narlock and Bach-Gorman who can make a difference when cardiac arrest strikes and time is of the essence, which is why the three were honored with the ambulance service's award.

The F-M Ambulance Service Lifesaving Award was also presented Wednesday to Nicole Christensen, Cindy Troftgruben and Lara Lunde.

The trio of women helped save Roxanne Burnside, who collapsed during the Holiday Lights Parade on Nov. 20.

Lunde, Troftgruben and Christensen were watching the parade just feet away from Burnside when she collapsed while walking in the parade near NP Avenue and Broadway.

The three women started CPR while Fargo police Officer Shawn Gamradt ran to the MAT bus station to retrieve an AED machine.

Gamradt was honored Wednesday by the F-M Ambulance with the Medal of Merit.

Burnside was taken to the hospital and released a few days later.

On Wednesday, she, too, was able to hug and thank the four people she credits with saving her life.