Sprunger makes surprise return to council chair

Authored by Jim Langham on Feb 27, 2013

Berne Councilman, Gregg Sprunger, surprised council members on Monday evening by sitting at his post as council president just 9 days after suffering a major heart attack that included cardiac arrest.
“Tonight I sit in this chair a blessed and humble man,” Sprunger read to council from a statement he had prepared to read. “First and foremost, I need to thank God for performing many miracles on my behalf.
“Since Dec. 17, 2012, I have had a knee replacement, a knee manipulation and a heart attack,” continued Sprunger. “The knee replacement was planned and the manipulation was done because my rehab did not go as well as planned. The surprise came on Saturday, Feb. 16, when I suffered a heart attack.”
That was also the beginning of miracles in his life, Sprunger emphasized. He had experienced some mild episodes earlier in the day. However, when his son, Ben, stopped by his house in the afternoon, a more severe episode set in.
“We were babysitting for my granddaughter, Janessa, because our grandson, Javin, was at Adams Memorial Hospital with pneumonia.
“It was decided that I, too, needed to go to the hospital as soon as possible,” Sprunger said. “From all accounts, this chair would be empty tonight if miracles would not have started happening soon. Thank God they did.
“All law enforcement agencies must have been busy with more important items than to sit in their vehicle and run radar because we made it to Decatur in record time,” said Sprunger with a twinge of amusement in his voice. “I was able to walk into the emergency room on my own because my symptoms had subsided for the moment.”
However, Sprunger said emotionally, all of that changed quickly. His wife, Barb had arrived with Janessa, daughter, Leslie, who was already at the hospital with her son, Javin, and discovered that he (Sprunger) was in the emergency room having a heart attack.
“My son, Michael and his wife, Jenn, were in Michigan with their youth group; I’m sure he tried to make it back in record time,” said Sprunger. “Soon after I was in full cardiac arrest and my heart had stopped.
“They quickly gave me oxygen, performed CPR and then shocked me one time and miraculously, my heart started beating again. I was at the right place at the right time when I needed to receive the care that I needed,” added Sprunger.
Sprunger was then stabilized and sedated for the trip to Lutheran Hospital. By the time he arrived on the west side of Fort Wayne, the coronary critical care team was there waiting for him. Since he was the only one arriving at Lutheran at that time, the team could devote its entire resources toward him.
“Again, I was at the right place at the right time,” observed Sprunger. “They put three stents in one artery and one stent in another. The cardiologist told my family I should be okay. Praise the Lord.
“I would like to thank my wife, Barb, my daughter, Leslie, and her husband, Jason, my son, Ben, and his wife, Lana, and my son, Michael, and his wife, Jenn, for all of their love and support during this time of need in my life,” Sprunger said.
“I would like to thank everyone who lifted up prayers to heaven on my behalf during this time of need in my life as well as the prayers for my continued recovery,” continued Sprunger. “I would like to give a special thank you to the friends of our children and their spouses and our friends who came to visit the family while I was in an induced coma.”
Sprunger praised Dr. Cameron Nelson and his medical staff in the emergency room at Adams Memorial Hospital and the Adams County EMS for getting him to Lutheran Hospital quickly and efficiently.
In addition, he praised Dr. Vijay Chilakamarri and the medical staff at Lutheran hospital for their care of him.
“Their (Lutheran) nursing staff and all of the other caregivers are second to none,” added Sprunger.
Council member Ron Dull extended his assurance and prayer support to Sprunger, recounting the death of his father, Tom Dull, of a massive heart attack several years ago.
“Although our circumstances were different, I felt for you and your family and am so thankful for your miracles,” said Dull. “We are so glad that you are here tonight and continue to pray that God will bless your life.”

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