‘They were two angels sent by God’: Daughter of Whataburger employee saved by off-duty officers thankful for their heroic actions

Sabino Brandonisio has been in the hospital since Aug. 12

A Cibolo man is alive and in the hospital recovering from a cardiac arrest thanks to the quick actions of a husband and wife who are trained officers that saved him.

CIBOLO/SCHERTZ, Texas – A Cibolo man is alive and in the hospital recovering from a cardiac arrest thanks to the quick actions of a husband and wife who are trained officers that saved him.

Sabrina Brandonisio, the daughter of Sabino Brandonisio, 60, said the two were supposed to start their shift together, working as cooks at the Whataburger in Schertz on Aug. 12.

“I went in an hour earlier, and he was supposed to get there at 7 a.m. He is never late, and a co-worker told me he was outside and unconscious,” Sabrina Brandonisio said. "I ran out of the door, and these two people came out of nowhere and started doing CPR.

Those two people were Danielle Apgar, a Schertz police officer, and her husband, Joshua Apgar, a Cibolo police officer. The two had just worked the night shift before and pulled in to get breakfast at the right place and the right time.

“When we got off, I asked her what she wanted to eat -- Bill Miller or Whataburger -- and she said in a split second -- Whataburger. When we pulled in, we noticed someone, an employee, laying on the ground, and several employees were surrounding him. We stopped and noticed something wasn’t right and that he was having a medical episode,” Joshua Apgar said. “When we got out, we heard his co-workers on the phone with 911 saying that he was dying. At that point, we went and checked on him, and he was on his side, so Danielle rolled him over. We checked for a pulse and realized he had no pulse, so (we) immediately started in on CPR.”

Sabrina Brandonisio was there the entire time.

“I thought that was the last time I was going to see my dad,” she said through tears. “His heart stopped, and he was getting really cold already, and they just kept doing CPR. Then the paramedics got there.”

Joshua and Danielle switched off performing CPR for four, five minutes before they began to feel a pulse.

“Another officer got there, and we got his AED, and then EMS arrived,” Joshua Apgar said. “They were able to get him stable enough to get him transported.”

While at the hospital, Sabino Brandonisio received some devastating news.

“They told us he needed to have an emergency heart surgery, but there was only a 10% chance he would make it. But that was the only chance we had, and my mom decided that was what we were going to do,” Sabrina Brandonisio said. “They had to put him in an induced coma to make sure he didn’t have any brain damage, and he was in that for about a week.”

Their more hopeful moment was when their father woke up.

“He woke up and recognized everybody, so he had no brain damage,” Sabrina Brandonisio said. “But he had a lung infection, and they had to get him antibiotics for that.”

She said that process caused his organs to shut down.

“They told us he wasn’t going to make it,” Sabrina Brandonisio said. “He finished his antibiotics just a week ago but now has to be on dialysis because that made his kidneys stop functioning. It has been complicated because he has been in the hospital this entire time.”

The doctors said Sabino Brandonisio is lucky to be alive.

“They said he is progressively getting better, and hopefully, in a couple of months, he will be back to his normal self,” Sabrina Brandonisio said.

Because of that, she said she and her family are beyond grateful for the married couple who she later learned were officers.

“There were not in uniform, so I thought they were just regular people,” Sabrina Brandonisio said. “I was so caught up in the moment that day that I didn’t get a chance to thank them, but I found this story about the officers' actions and thought that was my father they saved. I went through Facebook and thanked them because I didn’t know how else to contact them.”

Both Joshua and Danielle Apgar have been recognized in both Schertz and Cibolo for their heroic actions.

“The best part about our job is when we see a need, and we are about to fill that need,” said Danielle Apgar. “It is not out of the ordinary to respond to things like this when we are on duty. The only thing is that we were off duty at the time, so that caught us off guard a little bit. But it turned out for the best. We are literally here to help and serve people. This is why we are officers.”

Joshua Apgar added that they do not serve and protect for recognition whatsoever.

“We want to help people in any way we can,” he said. “The fact that we were able to see how we helped him and that we made a difference in his life and were able to help not just him but his family, that was the most rewarding part of it.”

Sabrina Brandonisio said her father will be released from the hospital in the next few days and should be back up and running by Christmas. She said she is most excited to have him home with their entire family, having a cup of coffee with him since he loves coffee. They are also raising money to help with medical expenses. They are asking anyone who can help to contact them at (708)351-2472.

“I feel like they were two angels sent by God,” Sabrina Brandonisio said. “If they wouldn’t have been there, then my father probably wouldn’t be here right now and with no brain damage. I just want to say thank you, and I encourage anyone to cherish your family.”

“This situation is a point proven that anyone can help at any time,” Joshua Apgar said. “So learn what you can, and if you see a situation where you can step in to help, do it. Even if it is just a general citizen, do it. You never know what the outcome may be. You may be able to help save someone’s life.”

About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.