A West Grey police officer says the 'stars aligned' for a man who survived a heart attack on the side of the road in Ayton.
Sergeant Jeremy White says "If it had happened three concessions down the road he wouldn't be alive," recalling 61 year old James Wilmer's medical emergency this past March.
White and Paramedic Melissa Kaufman met with Wilmer at Grey County council chambers during Paramedic Week at the end of May, where they were recognized for their lifesaving efforts.
Sergeant White says he was off-duty and driving to his son's hockey game at the arena in Ayton when he came upon two stopped vehicles on Bruce Road 3.
One was Wilmer's vehicle which was stopped partially on the road, and the other was off duty firefighter Josh Farlow's truck.
Farlow had been driving to the same hockey game when he discovered Wilmer in medical distress and took the initial steps in saving Wilmer's life.
"If it wasn't for him, I don't believe this person would be here today," says White.
According to White, Farlow reached into Wilmer's vehicle through a partly open window, cautious of the dog inside with Wilmer, "How many dogs do you want to reach your hand inside their vehicle?" says White.
White, along with a retired nurse from Brussels, aided Farlow in his effort resuscitate an unconscious Wilmer.
"All three of us were doing CPR at that point," says White recounting another hockey parent ran the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) from the arena to the scene.
He says they did CPR for 15-20 minutes before firefighters and paramedics Melissa Kaufman and Dean Hill got there.
White says saving Wilmer's life would not have been possible without the help of numerous people, "From the person running the AED from the arena to us, to the person holding the dog and the 911 caller." White credits other hockey parents like Chris Vanderhout who got Wilmer's health card, and Rob Cameron who was doing traffic control.
He notes his wife gathered all the kids into the arena, "She didn't want them to stand out there and look at what was going on."
White says it was a day he'll remember, noting he's been told, "You kind of do this all the time anyway," but he says "You may do it while you're working but you never expect it when you're off. You're trained for it to happen when you're working. You get a call for it over the radio and you mentally prepare for that."
White says knowing CPR is incredibly valuable, "It is totally vital to know this," he feels without that AED at the arena, and one used later in the ambulance Wilmer wouldn't have lived.
"It would be great to have one in every cruiser and every fire truck...It's just such a vital instrument in playing a role in saving someone's life."
Paramedic Week ran from May 26 - June 1st.
Congratulations to West Grey police Sgt. Jeremy White and Grey County Paramedic Melissa Kaufman who were presented with awards for saving the life of James Wilmer. James was resuscitated after having a heart attack. Great work by Firefighters, EMS and Police🥇 🏆 pic.twitter.com/PfN17ELTd8— West Grey Police (@WestGreyPolice) May 31, 2019