Teen in Lake in the Hills Civil Air Patrol receives lifesaving award

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Two weeks after receiving CPR training, Jason Schnecke found himself in a situation where he needed the skill while visiting his grandfather at his Hoffman Estates home.

Carl Schnecke Sr. had lost consciousness and was about to fall to the floor. Nick Schnecke, Jason's cousin, caught their grandfather, and the two of them helped lie him on the floor.

Their grandfather stopped breathing and had no pulse as the result of a heart attack. Jason Schnecke then took charge.

He told his father, Carl Jr., to call 911. Jason Schnecke, 18, of West Dundee, then performed CPR on his grandfather for eight minutes until help arrived from the Hoffman Estates Fire Department.

For his actions, Jason Schnecke on Thursday received the Life Saving Award from the Civil Air Patrol, which included a framed certificate and a ribbon and medal for him to wear on his uniform.

"This young man took action, and in his willingness to do so, saved a life," said Major Brian Pokuta, who oversees Group 22 of the Civil Air Patrol in Illinois. "He took his training, the discipline he has, and put it to work."

Schnecke, a Jacobs High School senior, has been a member of Civil Air Patrol Squadron 282, based in Lake in the Hills, since October 2012.

As part of the ceremony on Thursday, but not related to the lifesaving actions, Schnecke was promoted from cadet senior master sergeant to cadet chief master sergeant.

Schnecke was trained in CPR during an exercise with the McHenry County Composite Squadron just two weeks before his grandfather's heart attack.

Once paramedics arrived on scene and took over treatment, they were able to shock Schnecke's grandfather's heart back into rhythm. He started breathing on his own.

Schnecke didn't immediately let his squadron know about the heroic act, said Capt. Jim Wresch, who runs the Lake in the Hills unit.

Schnecke said he didn't feel he deserved recognition.

"I was just put in an extraordinary circumstance and reacted appropriately," Schnecke said.

To determine whether Schnecke would receive the award, Wresch had to request documentation from the Hoffman Estates Fire Department.

The award eventually had to be approved by Col. Rick Oeth, who oversees the Civil Air Patrol wing in Illinois. Wresch said receiving the award is rare.

"They are few and far between," Wresch said.

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