Tears, smiles and praise were spread around yesterday after a local man thanked the people who saved his life a year ago.

Chris Freeman, a fitness instructor at Acadia Pool, went into cardiac arrest while teaching a class and five co-workers jumped into action — saving his life before EMS arrived.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for these people. They will say they were just doing their job, but they saved my life and they are my heroes,” an emotional Freeman said yesterday at the pool where it happened.


Freeman and the paramedics who were on scene that day — Jeff Slimmon and Katie-Lynn Joyce — reunited with rescuers yesterday to present certificates and emphasize the important of first-aid.

“It’s a gift to people to have the training, and my gift from these people was life,” he said.

Equally emotional were his life-savers: Donald Dinsmore, Linda Megenbir, Trisha Gray, Beth Chetnew and Marnie Shields, who was first to respond.

“It’s a requirement for the job to have the training, but it could have happened anywhere or on the street and if you have the training you can save lives,” Shields said.

Calgary EMS Paramedic Slimmon told Metro while CPR is an invaluable skill, it is becoming just as important to have defibrillator training, a machine that Calgary EMS is placing in facilities around the city.

Right now there are 700 AED (automatic external defibrillators) at various locations in Calgary.

“When people are properly trained with the AED (automatic external defibrillator) it will basically allow them to get the person’s heart going again until we can get there,” Slimmon said.

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