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‘She was my angel’: Upper Deck bartender performs CPR on unresponsive customer, credited for saving his life

<i>WEWS</i><br/>A typical day on the golf course took a turn for the worse for Uniontown resident Shawn Cavanaugh but ended with a life-long bond between him and a bartender named Taylor Lyn Kemerer
WEWS
A typical day on the golf course took a turn for the worse for Uniontown resident Shawn Cavanaugh but ended with a life-long bond between him and a bartender named Taylor Lyn Kemerer

By Camryn Justice

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    NEW FRANKLIN, Ohio (WEWS) — A typical day on the golf course took a turn for the worse for Uniontown resident Shawn Cavanaugh but ended with a life-long bond between him and a bartender named Taylor Lyn Kemerer, who is credited for saving his life.

On Friday, May 12, Cavanaugh was out on the Turkeyfoot Lake Golf Links with a group of friends, enjoying their tradition of “Stress-Free Friday” golf league. They’ve done it every week for 25 years.

“Beautiful day. Couldn’t have played any better, actually. Had a lot of fun. Laughs all day like I do with them all the time, they’re a bunch of great guys,” he recalled.

Cavanaugh was running late to the tee time and wasn’t able to pick up the waters and Gatorade he normally brings for a day on the links. He attributes what happened later that day to being dehydrated.

After the round of golf, Cavanaugh and his friends went across the street to Upper Deck Bar and Grill for a bite to eat. The group sat down on the interior patio, and a few moments later, Cavanaugh started to feel a little off. The dehydration was taking its toll.

“I started feeling dizzy. And all of a sudden I was thinking to myself, ‘Whoa, I’m really feeling lightheaded,’ and I thought I was going to lay my head down on my arms. And then the next was not a good thing,” Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh had passed out and was unresponsive. His friends called for help and the general manager of Upper Deck immediately called 911.

The owner of Upper Deck and Turkeyfoot Lake Golf Links Timothy Adkins got a call from the manager explaining the situation.

“I got a phone call from the manager,” Adkins said. “I said, ‘What’s going on? What happened?’ And he goes, ‘You’re not going to believe this.’ He said, ‘Some guy like fell over at the table and had no pulse.'”

As they waited for first responders to arrive, Kemerer, a bartender who was in early for her shift, wasted no time.

Kemerer has lived through tragedy before. Her mother has been a nurse for over 40 years and Kemerer has grown up medically trained. CPR certified and taught the importance of being fast-acting in certain situations, Kemerer knew what to do. But she also had hands-on experience from an event that changed her life forever.

“I did have a traumatic event seven years ago when my father passed away of a massive heart attack in front of my mother and I,” Kemerer said. “When that happened seven years ago, that was kind of my calling that I know that I want to go into a medical profession and help people.”

Kemerer was in school to get into the medical profession but a few years ago had to leave school.

“I was doing pre-med for biochemistry. But then ultimately, three and a half years ago, I had to drop out to take care of my mother. So now I’m just working and taking care of her. But one day I’ll get back to school and get into the medical field,” Kemerer said.

Still, Kemerer makes sure to stay CPR certified and up to date on her training. So when she saw Cavanaugh unresponsive in the restaurant she was working at, it was almost a flashback to the tragedy with her father.

“He was blue in the face. I was terrified that he was about to have a heart attack and kind of re-live what I lived through seven years ago,” she said. “Couldn’t find a pulse whatsoever. And then I tried for about a minute and a half to see if I could get a pulse out of him. And then when I determined that I couldn’t get a pulse, that’s when I yelled at his golfer buddies to get him on the ground to start CPR.

So she got to work. Kemerer rushed over and got Cavanaugh on the ground. She began using her training that has been an important part of her life for years. After a few minutes of CPR, Kemerer’s efforts were successful.

“Next thing you know, he took a breath, his eyes started to flutter and the color started coming back to his face,” Akins said. “I go, ‘How is the guy? Is he okay?’ And he’s like, ‘He’s real responsive. The paramedics are here. He’s responsive. He’s talking to the paramedics. He doesn’t even know what happened.’ So, she’s a hero. She is, there’s no other way to say it.”

Cavanaugh was transported to the hospital, evaluated and treated, and a short time later discharged. He’s a little sore, as could be expected, but medically alright. He credits Kemerer for saving his life that day, but had no recollection of the events or of Kemerer herself.

A few days after the incident, Cavanaugh returned to Upper Deck to meet her—and thank her for saving his life.

That was a moment he will never forget.

“When we were talking, she told me that of all things, ‘You won’t believe this.’ And I go, ‘What’s that? And she said that I looked exactly like her dad,” Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh was touched by that moment—and he had a gift for Kemerer.

“He came back on Wednesday and he actually gave me this pin. He made the comment, ‘I don’t know if you’re religious, but I am.’ And I said ‘I am as well.’ So we kind of bonded on a religious level,” Kemerer said. “There’s just a cross with an angel. And he goes, ‘We’re bonded for life.’ And on the little card, it had a little prayer on it. And so I just turned to God and I talked to my father, who’s in heaven, and I’m just like, ‘Thank you so much.'”

The gesture was a small token of Cavanaugh’s appreciation for Kemerer and the connection the two will now share for a lifetime.

“I just wanted to tell her thanks, and that I have a good feeling that the guy upstairs took good care of me, and he put her in my life,” Cavanaugh said, tearing up. “So I just bought her a little angel pin that said ‘guidance’ on it, because I think she was guided to take care of me and be in the right spot at the right time. So I will always thank my lucky stars for her.”

After the incident, Adkins was moved to take action of his own. He reached out to the New Franklin fire chief and is paying for all of his employees at his bars and the golf course to receive CPR training and get their certification.

“I want to get the training myself and I’d like my staff to have it also so that if it ever happens again, there’ll be another happy ending,” Adkins said.

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