LOVELAND, Colo. -- A family that almost lost their teenaged son to an undiagnosed heart problem gives back to their community Thursday.
14-year-old Tommy Lucero died on the baseball field last month.
His coaches helped save his life by performing CPR until paramedics arrived with a defibrillator.
Now, they are paying it forward.
Tommy’s parents, Tom Lucero and Julie Kruit, donated four portable Automated External Defibrillators or AED’s to athletic directors at Loveland, Thompson Valley, Berthoud and Mountain View high schools.
The schools already have AED’s inside their buildings. But these will go wherever the athletes go.
The family says they’re filling an important need.
When Tommy collapsed on March 5, one coach went to grab a defibrillator inside the school a good distance away. By the time he got back, paramedics were already there with their defibrillator.
Today’s donations make it easier to give someone that life-saving treatment almost immediately.
“We’re going to put the other ones next to all the athletic fields, just in case anything happens. There will always be one right there,” says Tommy.
But the family says the need for AEDs is still much greater. They say 24 schools in the Thompson Valley School District need the machines.
The family is grateful they were given a chance to pay it forward.
“The gratitude for the coaches, the first responders, the doctors at McKee, the doctors at Children’s Hospital. What we’re doing pales in comparison to gift they given to us,” says Tom.
The family has also partnered with Banner and McKee Hospital to provide community-wide CPR training in the next six weeks.
They hope it will be free or nominal, depending on the donations they receive.
The Mountain View baseball team also recognized Tommy’s coaches for saving Tommy’s life with Sports Authority gift cards.