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Grandson thanks pickleball players for saving grandfather's life

Posted at 4:46 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-22 12:52:04-04

TWIN LAKES, Mich. — A friendly game of pickleball turned into a story of heroism for two men in Twin Lakes. When their competitor collapsed on the court, they jumped into action.

“We all know each other. We all, trash each other all the time. We’re all family,” 81-year-old pickleball player Joe Wolters said.

Those family ties would prove to be true a few weeks ago, when 81-year-old Joe Wolters and his 57-year-old teammate Marty Green were playing their usual game.

One thing is for sure: they don't see themselves as heroes.

“Eh well, that’s…kinda shaky. I kept him alive just long enough for them to do the real job.” Wolters said.

“We just barely got into the game. Maybe five minutes into the game,” 57-year-old pickleball player Marty Green said.

Five minutes in, and then Wolters heard something.

“We were playing against him, he was playing me across the net. I just heard him say, 'time' so I turned to my partner and said 'they called time' and I looked and he was down on the ground. I knew something was terribly wrong,” Wolters said.

The man they were playing against wasn't breathing and didn't have a pulse. Joe and Marty got right to work...using their decades-old CPR knowledge.

“Did compressions, Marty came over and did breaths on him,” Wolters said.

All while other players called EMS and tried to contact the man's family.

“They [EMS] were really really good people. They saved him, really. They said clinically he was dead for ten minutes. So yeah…they brought him back,” Wolters said.

The grandson of the man Joe and Marty helped, would disagree. Writing them a letter, thanking them for saving his grandpa. It reads:

Hi. I'm Mr. Grant's grandson. I can't thank you enough for saving my grandpa's life. He means so much to me and I could not ask for a better grandpa. He's just so supportive and loving. I'm just grateful that you were there, so now my dad gets to spend more time with him. It's really shown me how much God is looking out for him. My grandpa is seriously the most kind and loving person I've ever met. He's truly my hero. I can't wait to maybe meet you in person.

“He wrote Joe and I a very nice letter, we’re gonna send something back. Just try to push young people to do the CPR classes,” Green said.

They're hoping this story can help other young people want to learn how to save a life.

Find CPR classes near you here.

FOX 17 is told that the man who collapsed is doing remarkably well and is in rehab at Mary Free Bed.