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UFCW Local 663 Member at Plymouth Cub Foods Saves Life

June 17, 2019 Updated: September 8, 2020

Rick Phelps stands in front of grocery store shelves

This story originally appeared on the UFCW Local 663 website. 

It was a cold November morning, and UFCW Local 663 member Rick Phelps was working his normal shift at the Haug’s Cub Foods in Plymouth stocking in grocery. Denise from the Coon Rapids store was working a shift for another member who was out. All of the sudden Rick heard Denise saying loudly over the radio, “Code green! Code green!” He explains, “a code green means there is a medical emergency. I responded to that and it was in aisle 10.”

Rick took a deep breath before he turned the corner to the next isle, because he didn’t know what to expect. A customer was on the ground.

“I’ve done small things here you know like low blood sugar things of that nature,” added Phelps. “I went to check his pulse and for any respiration he had neither. So I started CPR. When I was down doing compressions, our security came up and I asked him to go get the AED. He was on top of it.”

First Responder

In fact, 15 years ago Rick took the first responder training offered when he first started working at a Cub Foods in Coon Rapids. Then it became something important to him, he says it’s a hobby, and now he is a volunteer firefighter in St. Francis.

If not for the union family at Cub Foods, Rick’s training and the AED in the store, the victim might not have survived.

After paramedics picked up the victim, Rick said, “I finished my shift. I was happy to help. It’s what I do. I just really focused and went through my training. The victim waking up was a bonus—that was great.”


Many people are calling Rick a hero, including Local 663 President Utecht. “On behalf of UFCW Local 663, I want to thank Rick for saving a customer’s life. He truly is a hero.”

Phelps says he was just doing his job. “I was just doing what I was trained to do,” added Phelps.

Phelps is grateful he was able to save the man’s life. His hope is that others will take AED and CPR training as well.

“If you have the opportunity to do it everybody should do it,” added Phelps. “You never know when the person right next to you is going to need it. Fortunately, I was in the right place at the right time.”

From making sure the shelves are stocked at Cub, to saving lives as a volunteer first responder, his commitment to his community shows.

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