Deputy, nurse honored for saving life of Simplot employee who had minutes to live

A reunion Thursday, June 3, in Grand Forks. Three people reunited after one of them nearly died for reasons still unknown.

Deputy, nurse honored for saving life of Simplot employee who had minutes to live
Simplot nurse Shauna Weber, Simplot production planner Shawn Urban, Grand Forks County Sheriff's Deputy Vonasek

GRAND FORKS — Shawn Urban knows he is lucky to be alive.

"I was standing at my desk and I was out like a light," he recalled.

Urban, a production planner at Simplot, had only been at work for 15 minutes after the Labor Day holiday last year.

"It would be like me now standing here and falling flat on my face, there was no warning, I felt fine," he explained.


Fortunately, instead of closing the door like he usually does. That day, he left it open a crack. A co-worker heard the thump.

"Having the standing desk is another reason I am still here, if I had been sitting down I would have just slumped over and they would have never known," said Urban.

The main reason Urban is still here is because of the quick action of the plant nurse Shauna Weber - who performed CPR - and Grand Forks Sheriff's Deputy Adam Vonasek, who brought an Automated External Defibrillator.

The deputy was three blocks away, and the call had not even been dispatched yet. The dispatcher was just putting it into the computer that Urban went into cardiac arrest.

"I just saw it popping up and self dispatched," Vonasek said.

Urban said that doctors told him that if he had to wait for an ambulance for help, he likely would not be here to share his story.

"You have seven minutes before death is pretty much imminent," he said.


Thursday, the North Dakota Peace Officer's Association awarded Vonasek and Weber with the distinguished life-saving award.

"I don't do it for the awards, I do it because it is someone else's life," Vonasek said. "I want them to see another day and be with their family and friends."

Deputy Vonasek said the real award is getting to stand with Urban again. Urban said he was hesitant to come to the ceremony, but decided to because of the negative stigma surrounding police officers.

"There is a bright side to what they do, I think a lot of people miss that part of the picture," said Urban.

Shawn is thankful to be alive thanks to his two heroes.

"It's like when you owe someone money, and you want to pay them back, but this is a case where you can't," Urban said. "All you can do is be grateful that they were there."

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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