Breaking News
More () »

6 honored for saving man who collapsed while working out in Eden Prairie

Peter Graff was working out on March 8, riding a stationary bike when he suffered a cardiac event. It didn't take long for a crew of good Samaritans to jump in.
Credit: City of Eden Prairie
Six community members were honored at the Eden Prairie City Council meeting for their roles in saving a man's life following a cardiac event. (From left: Chief Matt Sackett, Matt Johnson, Nate Storey, Doug Tucker, Alisa Hoang, Jill Bickler, Marie Goergen, Peter Graff, Mayor Ron Case)

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — It is fitting that Peter Graff works out at the Eden Prairie Community Center (EPCC), as his community is the reason he is alive and able to ride another day. 

Six citizens were honored Tuesday evening at the Eden Prairie City Council meeting for their roles in saving Graff's life. He was on an exercise bike at the community center on March 8 when Graff suffered a "cardiac event" and fell to the ground.

A blog on the city's website details what happened next. Off-duty EPCC fitness instructor Alisa Hoang witnessed Graff fall off the bike and quickly called for help, while fitness leads Marie Goergen and Jill Bickler ran over and began moving bikes and equipment so first responders could reach Graff. The two women checked his vital signs and immediately called 911. 

A fellow club member named Matt Johnson was working out nearby and ran to grab AED machines. Johnson then performed CPR and administered AED shocks on Graff with help from EPCC recreation supervisor Doug Tucker and rec specialist Nate Storey. By the time Eden Prairie police officers arrived at the community center, Graff had been shocked four times, and officers and fire paramedics used the AED machine to give him three more. 

By the time Peter Graff was loaded into an ambulance, he appeared alert and was speaking to paramedics.

In truth, Graff doesn't remember a thing from the time his heart malfunctioned to the moment he arrived at the ER. He told KARE 11 he'd been going to the community center to do his machines and ride the bike for a few weeks as "spring training for fly fishing" when he collapsed without warning.

"I was on the bicycle when I had a sudden cardiac event and went down like a shot," Graff recalls.

Doctors implanted both a pacemaker and defibrillator in him to make sure what occurred at EPCC never happens again. Graff said he feels great and was leaving for a walk with his wife when we spoke to him. It was clear Graff was pleased to be able to meet his rescuers at Tuesday night's meeting, hear their stories about what happened and express his gratitude. 

"They're really great people," he said with gusto. "With all the sad and negative things we hear about people, it's really affirming to run into people who step up."

Police Chief Matt Sackett maintains that six selfless and quick-thinking individuals are the reason Graff is alive. "The EPCC staff relied on their training, remained calm and worked together to stay focused on saving Peter’s life," the police blog noted. "Patron Matt Johnson jumped into action as soon as he saw Peter needed help. His actions were selfless and vital in assisting the EPCC staff."


Download the free KARE 11+ app for Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV and other smart TV platforms to watch more from KARE 11 anytime! The KARE 11+ app includes live streams of all of KARE 11's newscasts. You'll also find on-demand replays of newscasts; the latest from KARE 11 Investigates, Breaking the News and the Land of 10,000 Stories; exclusive programs like Verify and HeartThreads; and Minnesota sports talk from our partners at Locked On Minnesota. 

Watch more local news:

Watch the latest local news from the Twin Cities and across Minnesota in our YouTube playlist:


Before You Leave, Check This Out