Off-duty firefighter saves softball spectator in medical distress

MIDLOTHIAN, Ill. (WLS) -- During Wednesday night's recreational softball game at Memorial Park in Midlothian, John Conway had the winning play.

"I'm grabbing my bat to come out here on the on-deck circle and that's when my wife came by the gate and told me what was going on," Conway said.

Santos Gutierrez, 78, was having a medical emergency while seated in the bleachers.

Daniel Garcia said his grandmother didn't have a pulse.

"At one point I stepped down, 'Oh man I think grandma just died,' and he stepped in," Garcia said.

Conway stepped off the field to help the woman.

"We are doing the chest compressions and everything and I hear everybody yell, 'Conway, Conway. You're up. Come up. Where are you?'" he said. "No one on the field knew what was going on until the umpire turned around and saw everything and he stopped the game."

Seconds seemed like minutes and minutes felt like hours while the woman was on the ground.

"I can't imagine what was going through his mind because I know what was going through my mind," said spectator Melissa Quinlan. "Wow. He just saved a woman's life."

Gutierrez was loaded into an ambulance alert and talking.

Garcia said he's thankful Conway was there.

"I just want to say thank you so much and everything you did because without you my grandmother would be gone," he said to Conway as they embraced near the ball field where the incident happened.

Conway is used to going to bat for others as a lieutenant and EMT for the Crestwood Fire Department.

"It is the first time I have had to do it off-duty. It makes you feel really good," Conway said.

Conway didn't have much time to celebrate, he was up next at bat.

And Garcia was back in position.

"Grandma would have wanted us to finish the game. She would have been mad if we stopped," he said.

Jacob Conway plays on the same team as his father.

"Right afterwards when he was going up to bat I said 'Hey. You got bases loaded. No pressure, Pops,'" he said.

But the off-duty firefighter couldn't get his mind back in the game.

"He flew out with 2 outs so I did tease him on that and he says I was little unnerved with what just happened," said Jon Bruce, chief of the Crestwood Fire Department.

Gutierrez remains in the hospital.

Garcia said his grandmother wants to thank Conway for his heroic actions.

Gutierrez plans to be back in the bleachers cheering on her family on the field after she recovers.
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