Elkhart man receives brand-new honor for lifesaving efforts

ELKHART, Ind. -- On Monday night a man in Elkhart was honored with an award that's the first of its kind.

Though if you ask Jon Simmons, he wouldn't say he's a hero, but just someone doing the right thing.

"I just happened to be at the right place at the right time," says Jon Simmons, a volunteer at the Lerner Theater.

On February 10th, the retired EMT was volunteering at the Lerner Theater when he noticed a man sitting on the stairs struggling to breathe with his hand over his chest.

"I started talking to him, assessing what was going on, by that time his eyes rolled in the back of his head, and he collapsed," Simmons recalls.

Without thought, Simmons didn't hesitate to help.

"We checked the pulse, he had no pulse, we started doing compressions and he had popped out of it," says Simmons.

That man was able to be taken by an ambulance and get checked out at the hospital, but he stayed conscious and breathing thanks to Simmons and a woman named Judy who also assisted.

For Simmons, it was just using his skillset from 24 years as a paramedic to save yet another life, even if he's not still with the department.

"It was just second nature, jump in there," Simmons says.

But as Simmons found out Monday night, he's a role model for the Elkhart community, receiving the first ever Civic Excellence Award as an honor for his service and quick action.

Elhart Mayor Rod Roberson hopes his efforts set an example.

"We want others to know that it's important for any community to have people like Jon and Judy in it, so they feel comfortable, not for the award, but just to know that it is important to our city," says Mayor Rod Roberson.

Judy wasn't able to make it to Monday to receive her award during the meeting.

Simmons says this goes to show how important it is for everyone to be CPR trained because you never know when it could save someone's life.

He says it's as easy as calling Elkhart General Hospital, where he currently teaches CPR, and asking for a lesson.

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