Teen Emerges from near fatal Accident to Help Others

LANCASTER, NY - No one knows when a sudden event might alter the course of your life or how it might do that.

For a teenager in Lancaster, it was tragic,and near fatal occurrence.

On July 1, 2013 J.J. Pesany was helping his football coach and two teammates push a portable goal post off the practice field in back of Lancaster High School when it either came in contact with, or got close enough to send an arc from a high voltage power line

All four suffered an electric shock, but J.J. got the worst of it, experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

"They were all moving except one," recalled Lancaster police detective Keith Kerl, who was nearby when the call came in and was among the first on the scene.

Fortunately, Kerl was also a trained EMT with nearly 40 years of experience, and quickly performed Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on J.J., helping to save his life.

During JJ's recovery, Kerl came to visit and J.J. naturally asked him how he could ever re-pay him for his efforts.

"I told him that as a CPR instructor, I wanted to teach him and his family and his football team CPR, so that we can spread the word and hopefully some day you can return the favor."

And so, since that near fatal day J.J., now 16, has done just that and more.

I'm now a certified CPR instructor so I can now teach others the skills so that if they have to save somebody's life they can," J.J. told WGRZ-TV, on a recent afternoon when he and Kerl helped instruct his classmates on this life saving skill.

"We were able to put 500 high school students into this community that are trained in CPR," said Kerl. "That's huge."

"Hopefully, we can teach everyone next year and get the whole entire student body trained," J.J. said.

But J.J. wasn't done there.

He and his family became part of a lobbying effort along with the American Heart Association, to convince New York State legislators to pass a bill requiring CPR to be taught to all high school students before they can graduate.

The CPR in Schools bill passed both houses and was signed by the Governor last fall.

The State Education Department has been finalizing the curriculum for how it will be implemented, and the Board of Regents is expected to approve that within a month.

"If they can teach kids to square dance they can teach them to save lives," said J.J.'s mother Jennifer Pesany.

"I could not be a prouder mom...seeing what J.J. is doing and overcoming from the tragic event that he went through. He is absolutely making the most of his second chance at life."

Click on the video player to watch ours story from 2 on Your Side reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Ben Read. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2


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