West Allis Firefighter reunites with family of woman he performed CPR on while being attacked

Strangers no more.

The family of Arlene Wendler is forever grateful to West Allis firefighter, Chad Staszak.

“I can’t think him enough for being there to try to save my mom’s life…I just appreciate it,” said Joyce Gebert

Last month at West Bend GERMANfest, Wendler went into cardiac arrest. 

Staszak, who was off-duty, performed CPR on her. “I happened to be 20 ft. away or so, and I saw their mother go down. Someone yelled can somebody help and went over there and tried to help her mother as best as I could.”

Wendler later died at the hospital. She was 85-years-old.

Robert Ryan, 32, interfered with lives-saving efforts. He allegedly attacked Staszak, punching or elbowing his head as he did CPR. He was charged with misdemeanor battery, obstruction of emergency or rescue persons, and disorderly conduct.

“That’s how I actually found him, was through that unfortunate, terrible thing, but at least we got to find you. Meet you,” Gebert said.

The family wants Wendler to be remembered as a caring, and outgoing mother and grandmother. “Family was her number one priority…she was a great cook, she gardened, played sports and bingo, sled riding right until just a couple years ago,” said Gloria Bader, daughter of Wendler.

Although she’s gone, her family is they’re thankful for first responders like Staszak.

“He will be a part of every time we talk about our mom,” mentioned Gebert.

 “I think he gave his best effort and that’s all that really matters,” added Brandon Bader, grandson of Wendler. 

A special friendship has been formed. The family and Staszak will continue to stay in touch. 

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