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3 ski patrollers being honored for saving man's life on Wild Mountain last winter

Ski patrollers recognized for saving man’s life
Ski patrollers recognized for saving man’s life 02:38

TAYLORS FALLS, Minn. -- It's summertime, but some ski patrollers are being recognized for saving a man's life last winter.

December 12th was a perfect ski day at Wild Mountain.

Charlie Mehr, 58, of Plymouth had just gotten done teaching lessons to a group of kids, when he decided to hit the slopes on his own. That's when an afternoon of fun nearly turned fatal.

"And the last thing I remember is going down and I heard someone say 'do you feel OK?' I said, 'no.' And then, I was gone," Mehr said.

He had gone into cardiac arrest while trying to get on the ski lift.

"I heard the lift operator screaming at the top of his lungs, 'help, help ski patrol,'" Mehr said.

Ski patroller Mike Palkowitsch had just gotten done with this shift and came running. He immediately began chest compressions on Mehr, who wasn't breathing and didn't have a pulse.

"His eyes were rolled back in his head - open, but vacant," Palkowitsch said.

Ski patrollers Mark Mullozzi and Eric Barber also rushed over to help.

"We all realized at the same time that something serious was going on so we all started running," said Mullozzi.

For several minutes, there was no response from Mehr - until his rescuers hooked him up to an AED and shocked him back to life.

"They said I flopped. Bounced off the ground," Mehr said.  


"It was pretty cool watching it actually do its thing," said Barber.

After this happened, the AED log file showed that Mehr had less than a 10% chance of surviving his cardiac arrest.

But by the time the ambulance arrived, he was joking around with his rescuers.

"The first thing he said to me was, 'I shouldn't have taken that last run.' We all just started laughing really hard," said Mark.

Charlie had 90% blockage in his arteries and had to have triple bypass surgery. Now, he's feeling better than ever. And on Thursday morning, he got to formally meet the men who saved him.

"The EMT said I've been an EMT for 8 years, I've never seen anything where someone came back like this," said Mullozzi.

And Mehr is ready to hit the slopes again all thanks to his rescuers, an AED, and a whole lot of luck.

"It's joyful, but it can also just bring me to tears. Just out of the blue. I could not have been here to be with the people I love, who love me," said Mehr.

On Sunday, the three rescuers will be recognized at Wild Mountain for saving Mehr. Palkowitsch has already received a Purple Star award for his efforts. He said the entire ski patrol is like a family, which allowed them to work together in a stressful situation.

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