SOUTHWICK – An informal training on use of automated external defibrillators (AED) took place at the Southwick Fire Department April 29 for a group of motocross track owners from across the northeast.
The group are all friends of Joe “Bazooka Joe” Langlois, who died May 24, 2020 doing what he loved most – spending time with friends and racing motorcycles.
Langlois, a lifelong Northampton resident, was riding on a track with friends when he had a heart attack. He died before life-saving measures with an AED could begin. Nearly one year later, those friends are honoring his memory with a donation of 12 AEDs to motocross tracks in the northeast.
“Joe was the type of individual everyone knew,” said Rob Lockwood, Langlois’ friend who helped organize a benefit to raise the funds for the AEDs. “Joe was all about dirt bikes and motorcycles and making people happy.”
A benefit hosted at Southwick’s The Wick 338 motocross track in September 2020 raised $29,000, allowing the friends to purchase the AEDs and train users.
Wick 338 owner Rick Johnson said following the initial training, his entire staff would be trained as well. Other track owners in attendance said they would also bring the training to their staffs.
Joe Healy, a paramedic, helped organize the benefit and training. He said the friends chose to gift AEDs because when used within a minute of a heart attack, an AED can increase the chance of survival 98 percent.
Johnson said there was a similar situation in Southwick and Police Officer Michael Bridges was able to perform manual compressions and an AED was then used and the person lived. Johnson said that is the goal of the benefit and donation.
“The purpose of this is to prevent another tragedy,” Johnson said.