Ronald Raidy is 62, but as the Civil War re-enactor walked in his rebel gray down Grant Street Wednesday during the Hinsdale Independence Day parade, he told the crowd, “It’s my first birthday.”
If those that lined the street hadn’t already recognized the burly, bearded Raidy, they surely did at that point.
During the same parade one year ago, near the corner of Grant and 3rd streets, Raidy collapsed and suffered a severe heart attack following the ground-shaking boom of his re-enactment group’s replica cannon.
“I don’t remember anything after that,” Raidy said Wednesday.
People who were around him at the time certainly do.
It just so happened that the Adventist Hinsdale Hospital float was directly behind the re-enactors, full of doctors and nurses who quickly responded and began performing CPR on the pulse-less Raidy.
Hinsdale Police officer Tim Lennox was also close by with an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) that helped resuscitate Raidy. The AED was not something that Lennox was required to have by standard police protocol, but he had taken it with him that morning anyway.
Raidy eventually made it Adventist and recovered following surgery on July 6. Within a week, he was back at home in Bartlett.
Adventist lead house director Mike Dominguez, RN, who was one of the nurses who assisted in giving Raidy CPR, said the next day that if the hospital float had not been behind Raidy, "The great likelihood is that he would have died."
The Hinsdale Fire Department promptly labeled the episode “The Miracle on Grant Street.”
One year later, a smiling Raidy agreed it was a miracle.
“Everything was lined up, the stars and the moon,” he said after heaping praise on Lennox, the Adventist crew, and all the other first-responders.
Raidy admitted his family, who kept a blog during his hospital stay, was a little wary about their husband and father marching this year. But the Stanford’s Battery re-enactor, who now has a clean bill of health, said there was no way he was going to miss it.
“If I was vertical, I was going to be here, one way or another,” Raidy said. “Stanford’s Battery would cancel all its other events to be here.”
So Hinsdale should expect to see Raidy on July 4, 2013—his second birthday.
"I'm here for a reason, I just don't know what it is yet," Raidy said.