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Stokes auction heart attack victim returns home

Alive, and grateful to be so, heart attack victim Vernon Cole is now resting at home after spending 17 days in the hospital.

Cole, a 38-year resident of South Kitsap, was the unnamed man who collapsed at the Stokes Auction in November. Even the fire district officials said Cole had a very close call — it took several shocks with a defribulator to re-start his heart, even though CPR was started immediately after Cole collapsed and medics arrived soon afterward. Nevertheless, Cole was alert and talking by the time he was wheeled into Harrison Hospital in Bremerton.

“There was a wonderful chain of positive things that were in place for this to happen,” fire district spokeswoman Lisa Kirkemo said at the time. “Lots of times with full arrest, the person’s usually in grave shape. For him to be conscious and talking is really rare.”

Cole’s wife, Marlene, said the attack was still very serious. Cole underwent quadruple bypass surgery at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle and then later had to return to the operating room to have a defribulator implanted in his chest.

He returned home Dec. 10.

“He is very grateful to be alive and to have a second chance at life,” said Marlene Cole. “He’s very grateful for all of those who did help.”

Marlene also said he wanted to personally thank everyone who worked to get his heart restarted, particularly the auction-goers who kept him alive through artificial respiration until the medics arrived.

Any concerned friends and family members are encouraged to call the Coles or visit them at their Bethel-Burley home.

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