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YMCA members Danny Monts (left) and Dr. Bill Cornwell meet again one month after Monts suffered a near fatal heart condition. Cornwell happened to be at the Y that day just in time to save Monts’ life.

Life at the Coppell Family YMCA, like many workout facilities in January is busy. Wednesday, January 7th began as any other day with the YMCA opening and the usual crowd of 15 or so members ready to begin their day working out. The 5:45 am cycle/piyo fusion class was full that morning with the normal participants and a few new comers. Members were adjusting to the new cycle bikes the Y had received in December and just finishing up the cycle portion of the class when one of the Y members, Danny Monts, unexpectedly fell from his front row bike. The seasoned cycle instructor, Jennifer Taylor yelled Danny’s name as he slipped, in seeming slow motion, from the bike and landed on the floor, face up.

Immediately every one of the members in the class jumped into action to help Danny. Several people called 911, one person grabbed the AED that was located upstairs just outside the cycle room, another positioned Danny to begin CPR and rescue breathing. Fortunately, our newly hired Welcome Center staff is a nurse and she quickly appeared on scene. “In the midst of the action I heard a gentleman say: ‘I’m a cardiologist. Do you need help?’’ said Gayle Westapher, Executive Director and participant in the ill-fated class. “I looked up and there before me stood a young doctor, again asking me if we needed help. I pointed upstairs to the cycle room, and Dr. Bill Cornwell flew up the stairs, taking three steps at a time to the cycle room. When he arrived, he assessed the situation. Danny was clinically dead. He was not breathing. Dr. Cornwell immediately began CPR and asked our nurse/Welcome Center Staff, Medy Greene, to time him as he began chest compressions.”

Within minutes, the Coppell EMS arrived and was escorted upstairs. “The YMCA is blessed to be in such close proximity to Fire Station No. 3 and we rely heavily on these most professional and well-trained group of dedicated men and women,” noted Westapher. Soon EMS had Danny on a stretcher and amazingly, Danny was talking as he was carried out of the Y.

Later that afternoon one of Danny’s daughter’s called me and put Danny on the phone. He did not remember what had happened but he was feeling fine, all things considered.

A conversation with Dr. Bill Cornwell that day revealed the details of what led him to the Y that fateful day. “That particular morning I had not worked out at the YMCA, but remembered after stopping by the local grocery store that my wife, Amanda, a group exercise instructor at the Y, had left her cell phone charger there the night before. She asked me to stop by the Y and pick it up on my way back home. It was just as I was leaving the Y with the charger in my hand that I realized something out of the norm was occurring. I stopped by the front desk and learned that a man upstairs had suffered a cardiac event. I knew it was no coincidence that my morning’s list of errands had led me to the YMCA. I knew God had placed me at that location at that particular moment for a reason.”

“Everything fell into place that morning,” noted Westapher. “Medy, our new Welcome Center staff, and retired nurse, was at our front desk, Dr. Cornwell had come in to retrieve his wife’s cell phone charger, it all ran like clockwork that morning and I firmly believe God had a hand in the way events unfolded that morning.”

Fast forward one month, and on Wednesday, February 11th Danny Monts was back in class riding his bike. The surgery performed to remedy his heart problem was successful and Danny is on the mend.

The Coppell Family YMCA is eternally grateful to Dr. Cornwell and all the other staff and members who ensured a successful outcome for what could have potentially ended in tragedy. “The staff at the Coppell Family YMCA are well aware that the Young Men’s Christian Association is strongly routed in our Christian mission,” says Westapher. “We know that God is alive and well at our YMCA and ensuring that we deliver our mission to put Christian values into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.”