Wife of man struck by lightning says 'I just didn't let him die'

Rebecca Hibshman gave husband CPR after lightning

DENVER - The woman who gave her husband CPR after he was hit by lightning says she isn't a hero.

"I didn't save my husband's life, I just didn't let him die," said Rebecca Hibshman in a statement sent to 7NEWS. "I knew CPR and used that knowledge when I needed it. "

Hibshman's husband was in the parking lot of the Hebrew Alliance Center on South Ivanhoe Street last week when he was hit by lightning. AJ Hibshman had just put his family in the car when he was struck while running around to the driver's door.

The man had no pulse, but Rabbi Saomon Gruenwald said AJ was resuscitated by his wife.

"It happened in a flash, literally. The lightning struck and then they turned around and he was on the ground," said Rabbi Gruenwald. "She happened to be trained in CPR and she sprung into action and did what she had been trained to do."

Mrs. Hibshman says the entire community saved her husband's life.

"My husband didn't die because I knew CPR. He didn't die because my brother knew that the most important thing they teach in a CPR class is to call 911 before doing a single compression. My husband didn't die because another Hebrew Educational Alliance member saw the lightning strike and ran towards it, rather than away, to see if anyone needed help, and then she stayed with us in the lightning storm to help me do CPR," Hibshman said. "My husband is still alive because EMS arrived in less than 4 minutes to help stabilize him and get him to a hospital. He is still alive and on his way to recovery because of the amazing nurses, doctors and therapists at Denver Health and at University of Colorado Hospital. An entire community saved my husband's life."

Hibshman also has a message for the community.

"First and foremost, if you don't know CPR you need to learn it. I knew CPR because my mother taught me and everyone she came in contact with that we have a moral imperative to have the basic knowledge that could save someone's life," said Hibshman. "I also learned from her that if I have the knowledge, I don't have to panic in an emergency situation. I can access that knowledge, do what needs to be done and think about it later. Knowledge saves lives, and you can start be taking a CPR and basic first aid class."

AJ Hibshman suffered burns on 15 percent of his body.

"My husband is recovering well, considering the horrible burns on his legs, chest, abdomen and neck," Rebecca Hibshman said. "He is strong and stable and very lucky that none of his internal organs were damaged. He has a long and painful recovery ahead, but I am confident that he will recover."

No one else was injured in the lightning strike.

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