By Patrick McGovern | The Jersey Journal
Jersey City - Carlos Vazquez knew something was wrong when the chain-link fence he was standing next to appeared to be "melting like wax into the ground."
Vazquez, 55, of Jersey City, doesn't remember the extraordinary events that happened next. He went into cardiac arrest and a group of quick-thinking citizens and emergency personnel sprang into action to save his life.
Vazquez was watching his youngest daughter's softball game at Enos Jones Park in Jersey City when he suffered his attack on the evening of April 23. Yesterday, Vazquez and his family gathered at the park to thank everyone who came to his aid.
"It's just incredible to see everyone who helped him be here today," said Vazquez's wife, Lizet, who with the couple's children handed out balloon bouquets and hugs to the people who played a role in saving Vazquez's life.
Luckily for Vazquez, the park sits on the same street as an ambulance company, On Time Medical Transportation. Julio Maldonado, a longtime friend of Vazquez who was with him at the park that day, knew about the ambulance company because he had delivered auto parts there in the past.
"I just started running as fast as I could toward the ambulance company," Maldonado, 60, of Jersey City, said. Maldonado got the attention of two EMTs, Steven Valentin and Romy Lim, who grabbed their defibrillator kit and followed Maldonado to the park.
Frank Marto Jr., who was at the park watching his niece play softball that day, was standing next to Vazquez when he heard a thump.
"I knelt down beside him and held his hand," said Marto. "When his grip went limp, I knew we had to do something."
Marto started chest compressions on Vazquez. Sherrie Morales, who was nearby watching her daughter's game, began administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Vazquez. She was pleased yesterday to see Vazquez on his way to a full recovery.
"This is what life is all about," she said. "We gave those kids their father back."
Marto and Vazquez helped stabilize Vazquez before Maldonado could return with the EMTs from On Time. EMTs from Jersey City Medical Center-Barnabas Health also responded to the emergency. Vazquez was later fitted with a pacemaker at the hospital.
"This is something I'll never forget," Vazquez said. "It feels beautiful to see how many friends I have."