Stan and Kathryn Converse honor life-saving efforts of Dave Moffett and Kellie Sayers with GTCC scholarship

Published on: June 10, 2024
Kathryn and Stan Converse.
Kathryn and Stan Converse.

Physicist Stan Converse is living proof miracles exist. He and his wife, Kathryn want to make sure those miracles continue to happen.

Stan was leaving an astronomy conference on the campus of Guilford Technical Community College on Sept. 23, 2023, when he suddenly collapsed.

It would be four weeks before he was conscious again. He would awake without any memory of the quick-acting angels who saved his life that day.

Stan suffered a cardiac arrest that day as he left Science Hall. The electrical signals in his heart basically short-circuited, shutting down his body, resulting in the jolting fall.

Were it not for GTCC alum Kellie Sayers, a volunteer at the event, and Stan's friend David Moffett, Ph.D., chairman of the department of physics at Furman University, this story could have had a much different ending.

Sayers and Moffett went into action without hesitation when they heard Stan fall. Sayers realized they needed to begin CPR, but it became quickly obvious she wasn’t strong enough to adequately perform the chest compressions. Moffett took over, and Sayers connected with a 911 operator.

“Dave had not done CPR since grade school, but the (911) operator coached him on compression depth and what the pace should be,” said Kathryn, who was home sewing at the time.

“Kathryn tells me the doctors said if it hadn’t been for Dave and Kellie I wouldn’t be here,” said Stan. “I owe my life to them.”

The pair kept Stan alive until Guilford County EMTs arrived, took over, restarted Stan’s heart on the third try with a defibrillator, and transported him to the hospital. It was the beginning of a long journey which Stan has no memory of. It would be four weeks before he would be fully awake again as he was kept in a medically induced coma as his body healed.

“I don’t remember it occurring. I don’t remember much about the day. I woke up four weeks later,” said Stan. “They kept me under. I’m told they tried to bring me out of it a couple of times, but I don’t think I was the most cooperative patient.”

Stan also suffered severe facial trauma from his fall.

“His upper jaw was broken completely away,” said Kathryn. “He had pretty extensive surgery which included plates and screws being installed to hold the facial bones in place while they mended. We have been very grateful to the surgeons who did the work.”

“When I woke up, I was surprised I was in the hospital. It took a while to understand what was going on. I was pretty astounded,” said Stan.

The Converses knew they needed to do something to honor the efforts of Sayers and Moffett.

“What could we do … send them to dinner? That obviously wasn’t adequate,” said Stan.

That’s when the Kellie Sayers and David Moffett Scholarship for Physics and Astronomy was born.

The purpose of the scholarship is to recognize Sayers and Moffett for their heroics but also to provide someone trained in CPR who might save another life, as well as provide financial assistance to students enrolled in the following program areas at GTCC: physics pathway, physics or astronomy courses, or an associated science student enrolled in these courses.

The fund is initially designed to support a single recipient at a time, one semester at a time, up to $500 at a time, but the Converses say they hope to increase it.

“We started the scholarship by way of thanking Kellie and Dave and to pass this miracle forward,” said Stan. “Even now, I think about how the stars aligned for me to still be here without any loss of cognitive function.”

Back to All Articles