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Hastings students experience whirlwind after saving man

Sydney Radke and Addie Buck are recognized by Rep. Tony Jurgens for helping to save the life of a man who collapsed in his driveway while clearing snow. Photo courtesy of Jason Wenisch

A little over a month ago, Hastings High School juniors Sydney Radke and Addie Buck became heroes when they helped save the life of a man who had collapsed in his driveway. Ever since, the two have deservedly had their heroism recognized and both said that the response has surprised them. Now slightly removed from the incident, the two reflected on the events of that day, how they felt and the response of the Hastings community since then.

The incident

Radke was driving on her way to pick up Buck before school on Jan. 12 in the middle of one winter's cold streaks when she noticed a man in a blue shirt on the phone next to another at the end of a driveway. Radke would later learn that the man in the blue shirt was on the phone with emergency services, but he made no effort to flag her down as she drove by. Once she reached Buck's house, she could not shake the feeling that something was wrong, so the two returned to the incident. Even today, Radke is not sure what prompted her to go back to where the two men were.

"Honestly, I have no idea," she said. "I think it was the fact that I am a nosy person and wanted to make sure everything was ok."

Upon arrival, Radke immediately started administering CPR while Buck helped keep the victim warm.

"I honestly wasn't thinking," Radke said. "I think my adrenaline just took over. My training just took over and in the moment I wasn't thinking about anything but saving the man."

"He (the other guy) was on the phone with 911," Buck said. "I went in Syd's car and grabbed a blanket because he (the victim) was really blue, his face was blue and his hands and stuff."

Radke continued administering compressions while the police officers who had administered a shock with an automated external defibrillator (AED). When the officers took over from Radke, her and Buck helped keep the stretcher steady on the icy driveway while the man was loaded into the ambulance.


They both said that the situation did not sink in until they were both back in Radke's car talking to the police, who told them to take a little bit to wind down before heading back to school. So they went to Caribou, parked and called Radke's dad, which is when everything hit them.

"Syd's dad came and we were explaining it to him and then started crying," Buck said. "Before that, we weren't thinking about it really, but when Syd's dad started asking us a bunch of questions and we were like, 'That actually happened.'"

Buck said that the school was very accomodating to both when they returned to for classes and gave them both time to relax and calm down.

Both said they were surprised at the amount of attention they have gotten since then.

"I never thought it would turn into this," Radke said. "I am happy it did though because now other young kids are going to get (CPR) certified. It's a bit overwhelming but in a good way."

Buck said that they expected some recognition but nothing to the extent they have received.

"Me and Syd thought that the school would find out and something would happen at the school, like in the announcements or something," she said. "We did not think that many people would find out about it. When we went on the news and stuff, our principal came to our class before and told us we would be on the news and stuff and we were like 'what, how did they even hear about this?'"

Radke and Buck were recognized during a city council meeting at the beginning of February. They also were presented with Minnesota House resolutions by Rep. Tony Jurgens (R-Cottage Grove) that honored them for saving the man's life.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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