Wheeling firefighter honored for saving a life while off duty

  • Wheeling firefighter/paramedic Nicholas Brehmer

    Wheeling firefighter/paramedic Nicholas Brehmer

Updated 8/16/2022 3:47 PM

A Wheeling firefighter/paramedic was honored by the fire department Monday for helping to save a stranger's life while off duty.

Nicholas Brehmer was given a Meritorious Cross award by Fire Chief Mike McGreal during the evening's village board meeting.


Brehmer jumped to action in June while at Long Grove's Strawberry Fest with his family. After seeing 52-year-old James Jung collapse to the ground from a bench, Brehmer determined Jung had no pulse, wasn't breathing and was in cardiac arrest, McGreal told the board and the audience.

Brehmer was joined by two other off-duty firefighter/paramedics who happened to be nearby: Timothy Strok of the Inverness Fire Protection District and Billy Eisner of the Long Grove Fire Protection District. They performed CPR until volunteers with the South Lake County Regional Community Emergency Response Team, who were at the festival to provide first aid if needed, arrived.

Those volunteers had an automated external defibrillator and other equipment, and together the firefighters and volunteers treated Jung until on-duty Long Grove firefighters showed up and took over, McGreal said.

Jung, of Lincolnwood, was taken to Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights and survived.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

"Had they not been there, it could have been dramatically different," Long Grove Fire Chief Paul Segalla said Tuesday.

Brehmer, who joined the department in 2003, received a standing ovation from village officials and the audience Monday night. His parents, wife and children were there to see McGreal pin on the commendation -- as were many members of the fire department.

Village President Pat Horcher thanked the gathered firefighters for their work, too.

Brehmer, Strok, Eisner and the volunteer response team received lifesaving awards earlier this month from the Long Grove Fire Protection District. Although still recovering from his emergency, Jung was at the fire station for the ceremony and was publicly recognized by Segalla.

"Having James here made it just that much more special," Segalla said. "It was a pretty touching moment."

Go to comments: 0 posted
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.