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A second chance at life: Men receive lifesaver awards for saving man

Press Photo by Katherine Lymn Matt Achter hugs Dunn County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Geddes at a ceremony in Killdeer on Friday. Geddes and Lucas Stroh, right, received recognition awards for saving Achter’s life.

KILLDEER — Matt Achter was dead for 11 minutes on Saturday.

But thanks to two local men who were honored Friday for their lifesaving efforts, Achter was walking and talking at an event in Killdeer.

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Dunn County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Geddes and Dunn County man Luke Stroh were recognized Friday with North Dakota Peace Officers Association Lifesaving awards.

Achter collapsed at a branding at the Stroh Hereford Ranch on Saturday. Stroh, who had taken CPR classes, immediately noticed the signs of a possible heart attack and began administering CPR. Geddes, who was on his way home from a shift in his squad car when 911 was called and the report circulated. He went to the ranch with the AED and administered two shocks. After that, Achter began breathing again.

After he was brought back to life, Killdeer Area Ambulance arrived and brought him to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Health center in Dickinson. From there, Spirit Lifeline flew him to Bismarck.

Because of the quick and smart response by all involved, Killdeer Area Ambulance manager Ann Hafner said at the ceremony Friday, “there’s Mr. Matt Achter standing right there.”

Achter’s wife Shawna was at the branding when her husband died. She said the time he flat-lined seemed like eternity.

“They told me it was 11 minutes and I said, ‘Is that all?’” she said.

Achter said there weren’t words to describe quite how thankful he was.

“They gave me a second chance,” he said.

About 50 friends and family members gathered outside Killdeer Area Ambulance for the award ceremony Friday afternoon.

Because Geddes and Stroh’s actions were “directly responsible for the survival of Mr. Achter,” Hafner said, she nominated them for the Lifesaving award. They were presented their awards Friday.

Stroh, who has wanted to be on the ambulance crew for a while, was also given a $500 scholarship to cover the costs of EMT training.

Geddes has completed his EMT training and has state practical exams in Bismarck on Saturday.