Hole 17: John Macklin saves a life


SPRINGFIELD — Golf is a sport most participants find a relaxing and dignified pastime — certainly not a dangerous activity or one likely to arouse much action. But for those present during the Monday, June 6, U.S. Open Qualifying in Springfield, Ohio, it was an entirely different set of circumstances.

A staff member volunteering for the Miami Valley Golf Association was suddenly stricken with a medical emergency, and collapsed to the ground near Hole 17. It was very likely the man would have died that day, had it not been for the valor of another staff member, John Macklin, who very nearly missed the opportunity to volunteer on June 6 at all.

John Macklin, of West Alexandria, is a retired City of Dayton firefighter, who in 2017 and 2018 dealt with his own set of medical issues, resulting in open-heart surgery in 2019. After his surgery, Macklin decided to take better care of himself, joining a gym and falling in love with the sport of golf. As a new golfer, Macklin took every chance he could get to spectate, volunteer and play, just to learn more about the sport.

“I hadn’t ever heard of the Miami Valley Golf Association before,” explained Macklin. “But I found out about the Open three days before and with one day’s notice volunteered as a walking scorer. They didn’t have any openings, but they needed a spotter so I helped out where I could.”

“I was on the fairway, near Hole 17, pointing out to another gentleman where his ball landed and I just heard the guy fall. I hadn’t been there more than 15 minutes.”

Macklin was the first to respond to the collapsed man, who had stopped breathing and was unresponsive. Macklin performed CPR for several minutes, but could not revive him. He quickly requested an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) while he continued to attempt to assist the man. A group quickly gathered to help Macklin with the situation, and soon provided him with an AED. Macklin attempted to revive him, but the first shock had no effect. Again, Macklin charged the defibrillator, and this time found success.

The volunteer has since recovered and undoubtedly has Macklin to thank for his quick and efficient reaction.

“It’s just kind of natural for me to step in and do that,” Macklin said humbly. “It was my job. So, job training took over. Retired or not. That was my job, it becomes normal to me.”

Macklin was the last volunteer excepted for the event, one who had been entirely unaware of its existence only three days prior. Macklin expressed his belief something, or someone, wanted him to be there just to save a life on Hole 17. According to Macklin, he met relatives of the survivor a short time later, and was informed the man was only 34 years old and had recently had a child.

Macklin has since become a member of the Miami Valley Golf team, and continues to work on his game. Though Macklin insists on the accessibility to AEDs being a key factor in the events which unfolded on June 6, it is the willingness and courage of people like Macklin who make the world a safer place.

By Nathan Hoskins

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Reach Nathan Hoskins at 937-683-4057 and follow on Twitter @NathanHoskins13

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