GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A prominent coast businessman is doing his part to bring awareness to heart disease while making the most of his life.
Butch Oustalet loves what he does has been working at his car dealership in Gulfport for more than half a century. And at seventy-one years old he still loves his work.
He does this despite the fact that he suffered a stroke seven years ago, has an aortic valve issue, and has a pacemaker to regulate his heartbeat.
“They found out my heart would stop beating four seconds at a time. It could’ve been death.”
Heart disease is, unfortunately, something Oustalet is very familiar with.
“My grandfather died of heart disease, my dad had heart failure, there are ten children in the family and six of us have heart disease right now.”
But even with the family history, Oustalet said he never thought he’d have heart problems. In his younger days, he thought he was invincible and would never have heart problems. Now he’s more careful with his health.
“I have to go to the gym and I have to be conscious of what I eat.”
And he does what he can to raise awareness of heart disease prevention through the American Heart Association and other avenues.
“I’ve been blessed in my life, and if I can do things to help other people I’m doing the right thing.”
He also wants to encourage others with heart disease to stay positive.
“I do what I can to motivate people. Don’t get discouraged, don’t stop doing what you like doing.”
Oustalet no doubt lives by that rule himself; continuing to do what he loves while helping his community. And he has no plans to slow down.
“It’s not about focusing on my life but focusing on the lives of others. What can I do to help before the good Lord takes me? And I plan to live another fifty years.”
February is American Heart Month, which aims to raise awareness about heart health.
Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death in Mississippi. That’s why Oustalet believes raising awareness is critical.