Avid Williams Lake Stampeders fans Richard and Ollie Martens are grateful for the community support they received Saturday night after Richard suddenly fell ill during the game against Quesnel.

Avid Williams Lake Stampeders fans Richard and Ollie Martens are grateful for the community support they received Saturday night after Richard suddenly fell ill during the game against Quesnel.

Stamps fans help couple in medical emergency

A local couple who have spent their lives helping others, received life-saving care themselves Saturday night in Williams Lake.

A local couple who have spent their lives helping others received life-saving care themselves Saturday night at the Williams Lake Stampeders hockey game.

Ollie Martens was sitting beside Richard, her husband of almost 52 years, watching the Stampeders take on the Quesnel Kangaroos, as they do for every home game, when he suffered what was believed to be a heart attack.

“I just hung on to him,” said Ollie Tuesday from the couple’s home. “I guess I’m stronger than I look. I wasn’t going to let go.”

Richard had told her seconds before he felt like he was going to faint, and mentioned earlier that he wasn’t feeling well.

Seeing there was an emergency, surrounding fans sprang into action.

Marnie Brenner, a home care nurse who had been sitting behind Ollie and Richard, yelled out to nearby city staff member Nancy Feeley to run to grab the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex’s automated external defibrillator (AED).

“He was sweaty and I couldn’t feel a pulse,” Brenner said, noting she thought he wasn’t breathing.

Ollie, meanwhile, had attracted the attention of friend Will Lethbridge, who also took charge. With the help of Willy Devuyst the pair were able to lay Richard down in the stands in the event CPR was necessary.

Following prompts from the AED, Brenner dutifully performed compressions until Richard regained consciousness some four minutes later.

The Stampeders executive, meanwhile, put the hockey game on hold out of respect while they waited for an ambulance to arrive.

“Anybody would do it,” a modest Brenner told the Tribune. “In those moments it’s so important you can come across this type of help and so important to know CPR and first aid and to know where you’re at. It was amazing the way the community came together.”

Ollie echoed Brenner’s sentiments and said they are humbled by the community support.

“We live in a beautiful community,” Ollie said. “You don’t really know until something like this hits you.”

Richard, who is at home and feeling better, said he wants to thank everyone who helped in the arena, at the hospital and to the Stampeders executive for putting the game on hold for him.

“I feel very grateful,” Richard said.

Ollie said even Mayor Walt Cobb phoned their house to see if Richard was OK.

“We were very touched by that,” said Ollie who, as a devout Christian, was also comforted by the words of two women as they were leaving the arena for the hospital, who said they were going to pray for them.

“That meant a lot to us. We’re very humbled and thankful for everything everyone did, and so is our family.”

The incident, meanwhile, hasn’t slowed down the couple’s efforts to help others. The two were already volunteering Monday at the St. Vincent de Paul food bank.

They’re also gearing up to volunteer at the Yuletide Dinner Dec. 14, they will help the St. Vincent de Paul Society cook and deliver soup to the needy in Boitanio Park on Dec. 18 and, on Dec. 21, Ollie and Richard are putting on a dinner for roughly 35 clients and staff at the Jamboree Motel, which serves as a home for low-income people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

When they’re not doing that they’re quietly helping seniors in the community by giving them rides and cooking them cabbage rolls and perogies.

The two said they plan to be at this Saturday’s Stampeders game against the Quesnel Kangaroos.

“We love hockey. We go to every game. That’s our social life,” Ollie said, noting Nathan Zurak is their favourite player.

“But if this time Richard says he’s not feeling well I won’t make him go to the game.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
WATCH: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

Commercial tenants at the Williams Lake Regional Airport have been granted an additional six-month rent reprieve. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Continuing rent relief for Williams Lake Airport tenants considered

City council discussed the option during a committee of the whole meeting

The Grade 2 class of 150 Mile House Elementary attended Cariboo Memorial Hospital with teacher Kirsty Bowers to deliver “kindness” bags full of small gifts to housekeeping staff. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
150 Mile House students deliver gift bags showing appreciation for hospital staff

Students begin Monday morning with a bus trip to Cariboo Memorial Hospital

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Kamloops This Week
Cause of Kamloops landfill fire may never be known

Fire investigators are dealing with too much destruction in too large an area

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

Most Read