Longtime Mansfield resident Mike Hanke is crediting parks employee Heath Woodard for being on the scene and providing assistance during his recent medical emergency.
Some people might think it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time. Hanke and Woodard believe it was something more. A miracle.
“It was a miracle for me to here,” Woodard said. “I’m just honored to be able to help.”
Hanke was visiting a customer in the Mansfield Industrial Park when he began to feel ill as he was driving away. Concerned he would hurt someone as he was driving, Hanke brought his car to McClendon Park West, hitting a STOP sign as he entered the parking lot.
Woodard, a 28-year Mansfield Parks & Recreation employee, was working at the park when he saw Hanke’s car and realized something was wrong. Recognizing he was having a medical emergency, Woodard got Hanke to his seat in his car, ran back to get his cell phone from his truck and called 911.
Dispatchers got the Mansfield Fire Department’s emergency medical services to the scene. Woodard stayed with Hanke, following the dispatcher’s instructions and, more important, reassuring Hanke that he was staying with him.
Dispatch Supervisor Alejandro Galaviz said, “During our questioning I heard Heath say ‘I ain’t gonna leave you I promise you. I’m gonna be right here with you.’ Often times we are looked upon to provide comfort to callers when they call us at some of their worst times. It was great to hear that comfort coming from Heath.”
Hanke and his wife recently met with Woodard at McClendon Park to express their gratitude and get some details about the emergency that Hanke still has difficulty recalling. He said on that day, McClendon Park was a “safe haven” for him.
“I’ve helped somebody in distress, and it’s a different feeling that person is helpless and you’re there to render aid,” Hanke said. “And that’s what he (Heath) did.”