Group formed after tragedy places 50th life-saving device
By JOE CAVARETTA
Feb. 18, 2017
POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Witnessing the sudden death of his friend and co-worker inspired Todd Nobles to try and save other lives.
"He went down and went into seizures," Nobles said, recalling what happened ten years ago when a seemingly healthy Frank Speciale, 42, collapsed while playing in an adult soccer league in Deerfield Beach.
"We were lucky to have some EMTs and a lifeguard playing with us, but CPR wasn't enough," he said.
Whether Speciale, who lived in Pompano Beach and worked as an electrician for the city of Fort Lauderdale, would have survived the specialized treatment of an Automatic Electronic Defibrillator, can never be known.
"These were brand new renovated fields, beautiful palm trees, beautiful facilities, yet nobody thought to buy an Automatic Electronic Defibrillator for about eight hundred bucks," said Scott Henratty, a local attorney and president of the Frankie Foundation.
AEDs are portable devices that can diagnose cardiac arrest and then use electrical therapy in an attempt to reestablish a heart's rhythm.
Following Speciale's death, Nobles, 45, a parks foreman for the city, and a group of Speciale's friends started the Frankie Foundation. The organization purchases and donates AEDs to various groups and locations around Broward County.
The group has provided the devices for churches, golf courses, bowling alleys and even lifeguard towers.
"We raise money to buy AEDs and put them in public places," Henratty said. The group raises funds through events like golf and bowling, information booths at public events and through a group of sponsors.
To mark the tenth anniversary of Speciale's death, the foundation will donate its 50th AED. It will go Bru's Room Sports Grill, 235 S. Federal Hwy., Pompano Beach.
An earlier AED donation, in Sept. 2014, went a bowling alley, Manor Lanes in Wilton Manors. Two months later, it helped save a life.
Mark Martel, 50, of Oakland Park, was bowling one night after work about two months later.
"At the top of my third game, I experienced a sudden heart attack and it dropped me to the floor," he explained.
"Luckily someone acted very quickly. They knew there was an AED and came over and put it on me. It detected I needed to be shocked and it brought me right back to life," Martel said.
"It's a special thing to touch somebody's life," said Henratty, about the Wilton Manors incident at the bowling alley.
"Without Frankie, he wouldn't be alive," he said.
Henratty and others would like to see a time when AEDs are required additions to all public places.
"It's upsetting that cities will make you plant so many palm trees, but not require an AED. How about one less royal palm, and one AED?" he said.
Information from: Sun Sentinel , http://www.sun-sentinel.com/