Atlantic Health System honored a New Jersey State Trooper and members of the Montville Township First Aid Squad as the first responders reunited with the man whose life they saved a year earlier when he suffered a stroke while driving along a busy highway.

Representatives of Morristown Medical Center’s Stroke Program and Emergency Department teams, presented state trooper Kristian Bautista and Montville EMTs Jaclyn D’Amico and James High with the “Golden Brain” Award. The award refers to the “golden hours” in which it is crucial for stroke patients to receive care in order to save lives or preserve neurological function.

Bautista, D’Amico and High are credited with saving the life of Warren Hartwick, who suffered a stroke while driving a box truck on Route 287 on May 9, 2022.

Hartwick, of Carlstadt, remembers feeling fine as he began his daily deliveries for a garage door distributor that morning. That was until he was on the highway between his first and second stops.

“I remember seeing a warning light on the dashboard and I thought something was wrong with the truck,” Hartwick recalled.

Bautista witnessed Hartwick’s box truck weaving side to side on a stretch of Route 287 and managed to guide the truck to the highway’s shoulder in Montville.

“I’m thankful that I was in the right place, at the right time, but I know that any other trooper would have responded the same way,” said Trooper Bautista.  “It was great to see Mr. Hartwick doing so well and I wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

Hartwick remembers Bautista approaching and trying to speak to him. “I was trying to reach for the key, and i just remember reaching into air,” Hartwick recounted.

In trying to speak to Hartwick, Bautista determined Hartwick appeared to have stroke-like symptoms, and immediately requested an ambulance. The Montville Township First Aid Squad was closest to the site, and EMTs D’Amico and High responded quickly to the scene.

Using their training, the EMTs quickly assessed Hartwick’s symptoms, confirming what Trooper Bautista suspected and swiftly transported the patient to Morristown Medical Center.

Thanks to the quick actions of the first responders and the expert care he received at Morristown Medical Center, Hartwick was on his feet the next day, and has since regained all his function. A year later, he has been able to resume work in a different role at his company.

“I would just like to give my deepest gratitude to everyone who was involved that day to Trooper Bautista to the EMTs, to everyone here at Morristown Medical, the doctors, the surgeon and nurses,” Hartwick said. “It was truly amazing.”

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