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Bears staffers among group honored for lifesaving efforts of Hub Arkush


Another day of Bears training camp was wrapping up the afternoon of Aug. 15 when Bears security staffer Tony McInerney saw former Bears radio broadcaster and longtime NFL analyst Hub Arkush walking through the event lot, heading to his car. McInerney remembers waving to Arkush and saying, "see you tomorrow, Hub."

Minutes later, Arkush was found by Bears events coordinator Meghan Clancy lying on the sidewalk and suffering a cardiac arrest. Clancy immediately called Bears vice president of security John Tarpey over the radio, alerting him a man was down outside Halas Hall. Tarpey raced over and immediately started chest compressions on Arkush while directing the rest of his security team to call 9-1-1 and retrieve an AED.

McInerney and security staffer Joe Giunta pulled up on a cart about 30 seconds behind Tarpey with the AED, passing it off to Clancy.

"It was a sense of calmness from Tarpey and he knew what he needed to get done," Clancy said. "And then everybody else just fell into place with Tony on the phone with paramedics, [Bears security staffer] Rodney [Karlstrand] was opening the airway, Joe was going to retrieve the AED, he threw it to me, I was helping open it up and get the face mask out. Tarpey had a sense of calm over everything and if it wasn't for him getting out so fast, I don't know."

Tarpey spent 20 minutes giving Arkush CPR before the Lake Forest Fire Department arrived, took over and transported Arkush to a nearby hospital.

Five months later, on Tuesday evening, Arkush – who is on his way to a full recovery – came face-to-face with the group of people who saved his life as the Bears staff – Tarpey, McInerney, Giunta, Clancy, Karlstrand – and the first responders were honored by the City of Lake Forest with Clinical Save Awards. Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey and Arkush's wife Candace were also in attendance.

"It's hard to find words for," Arkush said. "When somebody says you were dead and they brought you back to life, it's hard to even believe. It's been really important to us ever since this happened to get to meet these folks to try and find a way to say thank you. They obviously don't really want any credit, they don't want anybody to make a big deal about this, they're embarrassed by it – they shouldn't be. They're true heroes.

"My wife and I have been together for 44 years. We have five kids, five grandkids and every one of them went through hell, to be honest with you. And these guys are the ones who made it end well. I guess my business is words, but I'm not sure I have any words to express how much we would like to thank them and we're going to continue trying to figure that out."

When Clancy saw Arkush walk into Lake Forest City Hall Tuesday, she felt chills run through her entire body. Fighting back emotion, Clancy said when Arkush left in the ambulance Aug. 15, she didn't think she would see him again. However, the instinctual heroics of Tarpey and his team made it possible for Arkush to survive.

"In a full cardiac arrest, minutes count and any intervention that happens before our first responders get there makes a difference," said Andy Rick, Lake Forest Fire Department Battalion Chief. "Whether it's an AED, chest compressions, doing basic first aid, all of those things allow us to be able to show up on a scene where the person is already getting help. Without those pieces, a lot times, we are so far behind the 8-ball that no matter what we're doing, it's not going to make a difference. So having anybody that's able to help out before the first responders get there can honestly make the difference between life and death. And it probably had a big impact on [Arkush] without a question."

While Tarpey was unable to attend the awards ceremony Tuesday, his staff knows he wouldn't take credit anyways, despite McInerney stating the vice president of security "did most of the work," while "never getting tired and sticking with it."

For everyone involved in saving Arkush Aug. 15, the award was "appreciated, but not needed." Giunta said: "I would prefer if everybody would look at this rather than saying, 'you're a hero,' everybody should use this as a teachable moment. Because we were able to do that for somebody we didn't know. Everybody should be looking at this and learning so they can do it for their families, because when seconds count, an ambulance is minutes away."

Rick doubled down on that plea, saying when anyone on the scene has an idea of how to react, the first responders find comfort in knowing the person is being given a chance before they even arrive.

Even Arkush expressed how impactful a learning experience like this can be for not only him and his family, but the entire community.

"I think you go through this and there's a lot that you learn about what's involved when something like this happens," Arkush said. "There's a lot my family and I have learned in the months since. I would hope something like this may encourage others to consider this as a career. When our first child was born, they offered CPR training at the hospital and we both got certified. It just seemed like a good idea. It was 45 years ago, so I don't think I could do it [now], but it is something that everybody should at least be aware of."