November 2021

Former Williamson County commissioner 'very glad to be here' after relatives save his life
Claire Osborn
Austin American-Statesman

The last thing that former Williamson County Commissioner Larry Madsen said he remembered on Nov. 23 was feeling dizzy and falling down.

Thanks to his granddaughters who knew cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and a quick response from firefighters, Madsen survived a heart attack that day, officials said.

"I'm very blessed," Madsen said this week.

"The good Lord had more for me to do on Earth. I feel very glad to be here and thankful for all the support I had from family. It's been a good Christmas and a good holiday and I'm getting a little better."

Madsen, who was the construction project manager for the city of Round Rock for more than 20 years, was appointed as Williamson County Commissioner for Precinct 4 in 2016. He replaced Commissioner Ron Morrison, who died of cancer.

Madsen did not seek reelection in 2018.

The 70-year-old spoke at a news conference on Dec. 14 about what happened when his heart stopped.

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Everyone who helped save him was at the event, including his daughter, Sarah Cox and his two granddaughters, 16-year-old Riley Cox and 18-year-old Faith Cox. They were joined by two paramedics and two firefighters who helped save Madsen.

Madsen said he was just leaving his daughter's house in Round Rock on Nov. 23 when one of his granddaughters asked him for help moving some items from her closet.

"I walked into the house, got halfway through the living room and just stopped and told my daughter 'I don't feel well — I'm dizzy,' " he said.

Madsen said he fell down and hit the back of his head. He learned what happened to him later, he said.

His daughter, Sarah, began performing CPR on him. She had learned the rescue technique while coaching volleyball at Meridian School, a Round Rock charter school, he said.

His granddaughter Faith called 911, while his other granddaughter, Riley, took over from her mother and resumed performing CPR on him, he said.

Riley had learned CPR when she was a freshman at Cedar Ridge High School, Madsen said.

More:Williamson County launches app to help save people in cardiac arrest

Round Rock firefighter Spencer Gray said that when he arrived at the house, Madsen's family was performing CPR on him but Madsen still had no pulse. Gray and Round Rock firefighter Brandon Strickland applied an automated external defibrillator to Madsen's chest to shock his heart back into beating, Gray said.

After applying the defibrillator and doing CPR, the firefighters got Madsen's pulse to return, said Gray.

"Had it not been for your family and that early CPR and the early 911 activation, it could have been a different turnout," Applegate said to Madsen at the news conference.

Madsen said a genetic problem that causes his heart to work at 50% of its capacity caused the heart attack.

He now has a pacemaker combined with a defibrillator to help him, he said.

"With some medication and and a little bit of health and diet changes they say I have many more years left," Madsen said.

Riley Cox and Faith Cox received awards for their life-saving efforts from Williamson County EMS at the Dec. 16 news conference.

People can learn CPR in 10 minutes at a free class the county teaches, said Williamson County EMS Director Mike Knipstein. For more information go to

People who know CPR can also help strangers by using an app called PulsePoint, Knipstein said. The app notifies anyone who uses it of when there is a 911 call within one-quarter mile of where the emergency is, Knipstein said.

It's About Life!