Quick reactions and professional skill were suddenly called upon Jan. 17 in a most unusual circumstance — a middle school boys basketball game.
Perry was hosting Ballard when referee Bernie Rangel suffered an on-court heart attack. To the rescue came numerous fans from the crowd, including a trio of nurses from Ballard, including Melanie Hermann, as well as Ames police sergeant Mark Watson.
Rangel’s partner, Jamie Bruggeman, also aided his partner while Perry officials called for help, and located a nearby AED (Automated External Defibrillator).
All involved were honored between varsity games Friday, with Jayette players giving roses to all. Rangel was then given the opportunity to address the crowd.
He expressed his gratitude for those who did not hesitate to act when the moment arose, and praised their professionalism and courage for nothing less than saving his life.
As Perry Community School District Superintendent Clark Wicks told those gathered, Rangel’s heart is believed to have stopped for two minutes before the AED restarted the heart and helped save his life. Wicks praised the quick reaction and calm demeanor of all those who intervened, saying their actions directly led to Rangel surviving the incident.
Wicks, himself an official, joked with Rangel that this was the one time he was likely to receive applause from a crowd, and especially from both sides. That is exactly, of course, what happened, with two extended standing ovations clearing touching the 30-year official.
He later joined some of those involved for a photo opportunity with boys from both middle school teams playing that day, who were special guests for the recognition.