Staff in county treasurer’s office saves man’s life after he goes into cardiac arrest

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Update (April 15, 2016) – Pursell’s family members surprised the staff at the Monroe County Treasurer’s Office this morning, and the Monroe County Board of Commissioners gave the staff special awards for saving Pursell’s life.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (April 14, 2016) - The financial director in the Monroe County Treasurer’s Office is being hailed a hero for taking charge and saving a man’s life on Tuesday afternoon.

The man collapsed in the floor of the office with no pulse. Staff used a defibrillator to bring him back to life. But there’s more to the story.

“I jumped up from my desk and through the door here, and he was laying flat out,” said Linda Lentz.

Lentz heard the thud, and her heart started racing.

“He was already turning colors,” she said.

With time ticking away, she knew the minutes mattered, and death was close.

“There was no pulse,” Lentz said, “All I could feel is this gentleman’s going to die if he doesn’t get help right now.”

Lentz started CPR on 67-year-old Ronnie Pursell. Other staff members helped. They got a defibrillator from the hall and powered it on, shocking Pursell, and giving him a faint pulse.

Lentz worked on him so hard that her knees were bloody.

“I felt like that was my father laying there, and I wanted him to get up and walk away with me,” she said.

Christy Vaughn says her dad, Ronnie Pursell, will live, because of Linda Lentz. Doctors told her so. He’s expected to be in IU Health’s Bloomington hospital for a few more days.

“I truly believe if it wasn’t for her, he wouldn’t be here today,” she said, “I think everybody crosses our path for a reason… It’s just amazing.”

That reason for Linda is now crystal clear, though she didn’t recognize Ronnie Tuesday.

“I needed him just as much as he needed me,” she said.

The year was 1999. Linda gave birth to a still-born son, Dakota. The young mother was low on money, not enough for a headstone, when a man in the monument business, named Ronnie Pursell, sold her one for $150.

Tuesday was Linda’s way of paying back Ronnie’s good deed.

“He saved me mentally and emotionally because I was beating myself up thinking I can’t afford a headstone for my child,” Lentz said, “He saved me then, and I saved him now.”

Lentz says she and Ronnie Pursell will without a doubt meet in the next few days.

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