John Moulin LifeSaver
By Secretary Paul Szydlowski
January 12, 2024

Full article authorized for use by the Clarence Bee.
On Jan. 1, John Moulin, the first assistant chief of Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company, was running in the “iRun WNY New Year’s Day 5K” at Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown, when his wife, who was watching from the sidelines, stopped him.
She said a runner, John Leszak, was “down” across the field. Moulin immediately cut across the course and ran toward him. When he approached the scene, he realized the man had collapsed from a cardiac arrest.
“There were three other bystanders there that were starting care and I just saw he was down there,” Moulin said. “I checked right away for a pulse. He didn’t have a pulse and I took over and started compressions.”
For cardiac arrests that happen outside of a hospital, there is less than a 10% chance of survival, Moulin said.
Thanks to the immediate help from bystanders, including two nurses, a physician assistant, Moulin’s CPR, the New York State Police’s AED, and the Youngstown Volunteer Company, John Leszak survived. He was taken to Mount Saint Mary’s Hospital and then transferred to South Buffalo Mercy Hospital.
Leszak joined the running community about eight years ago, while his wife, Paula Leszak, joined in 2007. They have run over 100 local 5Ks in 2023 alone, race organizer Paul Beatty said.
“They’re very well-known in the local running community because they’re in almost every event,” Beatty said. “They’re super likable people – very friendly and outgoing. They say hello to everyone because they know everyone, so a ton of people at the race on Monday knew John.”
He collapsed about two-tenths of a mile from the starting line.
Paula, a nurse practitioner, ran back to her husband from her position in the race to give him breaths during the CPR process. When Moulin realized that the runner was down, he jumped in to help and do everything he could in that moment.
“With fire service, when we get called to it, we know what we’re going into, for the most part, and we’re ready for it,” Moulin said. “It’s just kind of surreal when you’re not expecting to go to it. I’m just running as hard as I can and all of a sudden I stop to go do CPR on someone, so it’s different.”
John Leszak began breathing “much better” on his own within about six to eight minutes, Moulin said. The bystanders shocked him with an AED before the ambulance arrived, which “was huge.”
Moulin recently spoke with Paula and she said her husband is doing “very well.” Just one hour after the race began, she told Beatty that John was alert and responsive.
“It’s just a miracle,” Paula said. “Right place, right time. There were people that were giving him such good compressions and it was just really great. I’m grateful for the great care he got from fellow runners, from the emergency team and beyond that at the hospitals.”
She said another factor in her husband surviving is how physically active he is through running, which helped in making his heart strong.
At the end of the race, before the award ceremony, Beatty told the crowd the good news. The firemen from Youngstown came back to personally thank the bystanders for saving John’s life. It was a touching moment for Beatty, to see everyone thanking and hugging each other with relief.
There have been four times in the last two months where Moulin has administered CPR. Three have survived, which he said is extremely rare.
Beatty emphasized the importance of learning CPR in the case of an emergency.
“With the Damar Hamlin incident, there’s been a big push to learn CPR – it can save lives,” he said. “It’s important to learn CPR, compressions and being able and willing to step in in an emergency situation, which is exactly what those people did. They stopped and responded and were amazing. They knew what they were doing, they were in sync, they were focused, and everybody responded accordingly to the benefit of John surviving.”
To find nearby CPR classes or to become CPR certified, visit