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Darwin teen recognized for saving a man’s life
April 6, 2018

By Starrla Cray
Associate Editor

DARWIN, MN – Ryley Pollock of Darwin received an award in March from the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office, for saving the life of a man in full cardiac arrest.

“Just glad I was there to help,” said Pollock, a senior at BlueSky Online School.

Ever since he can remember, Pollock has been preparing to save lives. Whenever he had a project for school, the subject he always chose was first aid or police officers. At Halloween, he loved dressing up as cops and FBI agents.

“I just was always interested in this sort of thing – especially law enforcement – since I was little,” he noted. “And starting my job at a local nursing home to care for others jump-started my interest in the medical field. It has always been a passion of mine to help other people.”

Pollock currently works as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and trained medication aide (TMA) at Augustana Lakeside Health Care Center in Dassel.

On his own, Pollock purchased an emergency medical technician (EMT) first aid kit from Amazon for about $50. Recently, Pollock added an extra $50 worth of supplies.

“I had bought it just in case, and mainly kept it in my truck to have it everywhere with me,” Pollock said.

While at an outdoor auction in Eden Valley last fall, Pollock was glad he came prepared.

Another person at the auction, Thomas Geislinger, 40, had collapsed from a cardiac arrest. Someone called out for a nurse or a doctor, and Pollock went into action.

“I never ran so fast before in my life,” he recalled. He threw his keys to a stranger, directing them to grab his first aid kit out of the truck.

“I really wasn’t thinking much at the moment,” Pollock said. “It was just more what we needed to do to save his life.”

Pollock and two other men took turns doing chest compressions, keeping the man alive until help arrived. Because of the rural location, it took more than 10 minutes for the ambulance to reach the scene.

Without fast treatment, cardiac arrest causes sudden cardiac death. According to the Mayo Clinic, death or permanent brain damage can occur within four to six minutes.

“According to all odds, he should have been dead,” Geislinger’s wife Deb said in a recent interview with KARE 11.

Geislinger spent 11 days in the hospital, and is now fully recovered. Geislinger’s family considers Pollock a hero, and Pollock was recognized at a special ceremony at the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office in Litchfield March 13.

Pollock has continued to prepare for any emergency situation that could arise in the future, and is planning for a career in law enforcement someday.

“If someone is in need of help and I can assist them, I will,” he said.

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