BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (KMSP) - An inmate at the Hennepin County workhouse is being hailed as a hero after saving a company executive while taking part in a work release program.
"I'm not a bad person,” Derek Dejonker said. “I got a dui. It was my own stupid choices."
Alcohol and drunk driving put him in the Hennepin County workhouse in Plymouth, Minn. basically one step removed from jail. He sleeps in the locked facility at night. Then, as part of a special private sector release program, he gets out during the day where he works for GarbageMan, a green company.
"You're not just sitting in a jail cell and watching the paint dry. It's a very nice program,” Dejonker said.
It was on assignment last week where Dejonker went from workhouse inmate to life-saving hero at a garbage container sorting site in Bloomington.
GarbageMan's 71-year-old chief financial officer, Wayne Molluck crumpled to the ground in a heap. Molluck had suffered a massive heart attack.
Dejonker, who took a semester's worth of first responder training in college, knew exactly what to do and started CPR.
"I couldn't hear a heartbeat. I couldn't feel a pulse. So I kept going until paramedics got here,” Dejonker said.
The company’s vice president insists Dejonker made all the difference.
"When I got to the hospital, within an hour, Wayne was in surgery and numerous people at the hospital went out of the way to tell me our guys, Derek, saved his life,” Steve Marik. “If he hadn't acted quickly and taken control of the situation, he would not have survived."
Molluck is now recovering in the hospital after a quintuple bypass. Miraculously, he is expected to make a full recovery and return to work.
The company, so appreciative of Dejonker’s heroics, has offered him a full-time job when his 53-day workhouse sentence is complete.
"It just meant the world to me,” Dejonker said. “My mood instantly went [from] 0 to 60 and it was great. It's a great chance for me once I walk out those doors in a week and a half. I won’t have to start completely from scratch.”