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December 23, 2021

Hero Wawa employee performs life-saving CPR on woman at Millville store

John Wallup, a 19-year-old, deli-counter employee a sprung into action to revive a customer in distress

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Wawa Millville CPR Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

John Wallup, a Wawa employee in Millville, New Jersey, and student at Millville Senior High School, used his CPR skills to rescue a woman who was suffering a medical emergency at the convenience store on Dec. 17, 2021.

A high school student and Wawa employee in Millville is being praised for his quick-thinking and use of CPR skills to revive a woman who lost consciousness recently at the store where he works.

John Wallup, 19, was working a double shift at the Wawa on West Main Street on Friday when a customer informed him that a woman was in distress inside the bathroom. The incident happened around 10:30 p.m.

Wallup, a student at Millville Senior High School, has worked at the store for about 10 months and usually is stationed at the deli counter, the Press of Atlantic City reported. 

But when Wallup heard the woman needed help, he turned to the CPR skills he reportedly had learned taking a life-saving certification course with his late grandmother, a nurse who lived in North Carolina.

Wallup found the woman looking "purple" and not breathing when he entered the restroom. He told a co-worker to call 911 while he began to perform CPR.

Wallup then gave the woman a series of rescue breaths while pinching her nose, as he had been taught, and performed about 75 chest compressions. She briefly showed signs of life, but was still in a dangerous state.

"She died on me for a second. It was like a couple of minutes," Wallup told the Press of Atlantic City. "I kept doing CPR until she came back to life and she started breathing again."

Paramedics soon arrived at the scene and were able to transport the woman to a nearby hospital to make a recovery.

"We are grateful for the response and the courage the associate showed by stepping in and performing CPR on a customer in need of help," Wawa spokesperson Lori Bruce said. "We are so thankful for our associate's response and also for the paramedics, who responded and transported the customer to a nearby hospital, and we are working on a way to properly acknowledge his actions and thank him for going above and beyond to save a life."

Approximately 475,000 Americans die from cardiac arrest every year, the vast majority of these incidents occurring outside of hospital settings, according to the American Heart Association. About 90% of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die, in part because many Americans are uncomfortable performing CPR and only about 46% of people in distress get CPR from a bystander. Timely intervention with proper CPR technique can double or triple a person's chance of survival.

Wallup said his experience at Wawa has been eye-opening and that he's grateful the CPR class he took with his grandmother proved useful in an emergency situation.

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