KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Ron Dundon doesn’t know how many votes he received or exactly who his supporters were, but it was enough to win the Portage, Mich., man $25,000 to dedicate toward his cause of saving people from cardiac arrest.
“I’m just happy to be where we’re at,” said Dundon, who started the Automated External Defibrillator Fund of Kalamazoo County in 2003.
Since then, he and Evelyn Schmidt have raised funds and donated 39 of the devices to area first-responders and schools and offered free cardiopulmonary-resuscitation classes. The devices are used to restart the heart.
Dundon’s wife, Dixie Edwards, nominated him without his knowledge two years ago for the Volvo for Life Awards, a program that gives money to community activists. He didn’t make the first cut.
She nominated him again last year, again without telling him. He was notified in November that he was a semifinalist; on Tuesday, he was told he’d won $25,000.
Dundon, who works for Encore magazine on the Kalamazoo Mall, said he probably received many votes from the downtown business community. Bronson Methodist Hospital staff also helped, he said, because announcements were made on the hospital intranet and newsletter.
Dundon, 58, was among 10 semifinalists in one of three categories. Dundon is now one of three finalists in the safety category for a total prize of $100,000. His competition includes an Iowa woman who is promoting farm safety after her son died in a farm accident and a man in Las Vegas who offers free driver’s education classes.
The grand prize winner chosen from the nine finalists in three categories also will receive a new Volvo car every three years for life from the program sponsor, Volvo Cars of North America.
But Dundon, a cardiac-arrest survivor himself, said, “I’m not holding my breath for that one.”