Indiana teen uses health class training to save woman

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne woman is alive thanks to a teen’s quick thinking and a health class. A junior from Concordia Lutheran High School used the CPR he learned in that class to help bring the woman back to life after she nearly drowned Sunday afternoon.

16-year-old Garrett Spires said a week of CPR training during his freshman year health class is to thank for yesterday’s outcome.

“We did CPR for about a week. It was Monday through Friday. Each day, we did a different thing. Monday was adult CPR. Tuesday was child. Wednesday was infant. Thursday was AED and chocking and then Friday was our skills test,” Garrett said.

He said Sunday afternoon started out like any other afternoon at the park.

“I just thought it’d be a normal day here having fun with my dogs, then tragedy struck basically,” Garrett said.

Garrett and his dad were playing at the pond when they heard people screaming for help.

“It sounded like two boys yelling help, help- someone call 911, and I looked over there and they had pulled out a lady from the pond,” Garrett said.

The woman’s two grandchildren had pulled her from the water and onto the beach.

“She looked lifeless, so I immediately ran over and I immediately started chest compressions on her. I did about 25-30 chest compressions,” Garrett said.

Garret’s dad, Dean, is a firefighter with 18 years on the department.

“By the time I got to her, he had already started CPR. He reacted the way I’d want my firefighters to react,” Garrett’s dad, Dean, said. “I’ve been a firefighter for 18 years. So, for me, my training just kicked in. To see Garrett not hesitate and react right away without thinking, as a dad, I was proud to see.”

Right before Dean started rescue breathing, the woman regained consciousness

“To see her eyes open, and her start breathing, it was amazing,” Dean said.

“She couldn’t talk, so we just had to ask her yes and no questions,” Garrett said. “She just looked white as a ghost, extremely pale, shocked.”

Garrett then ran up to the nature center to get someone to call 911.

“My instincts kicked in. I wasn’t scared at all. My training kicked in and I just did what I was trained to do,” Garrett said. “It just kicked in. I went into high gear and just started trying to help bring her back.”

Garrett and his dad said it had been years since they’d come back to swim at Metea Park. They’d just bought their yearly passes 10 minutes before everything started to happen yesterday. The timing of everything is something they’re chalking up to fate.

“I honestly believe it was God who put us here for a reason. Had we not been here, I’m not sure the outcome would’ve been what it was,” Dean said.

While many people would call him a hero, Garrett doesn’t consider himself one.

“I just thought oh well, maybe someday something like this might happen when I need this and yesterday just happened to be the day that I needed it,” Garrett said. “I think it’ll give me a better look on how fragile life is, actually, and how one day everything is fine and then the next day, something tragic like this can happen and you don’t know when it could happen.”

Garrett and his dad said they would love to eventually meet the woman they helped save.

“If our paths cross again, I hope I’d be able to talk to her and tell her I’m glad you’re okay and I hope everything is better now for you,” Garrett said.

Garrett’s dad said his son wants to be a firefighter, and think his actions on Sunday are a great start to a life of service.

“The way he reacted and stuff is just something you don’t normally see with a 16-year-old,” Garrett said. “It took me 15 years before I had my first save. So to have his first save, I mean right off the bat, that’s great.”

The woman’s grandchildren told Garrett and his dad she hadn’t swam in 30 years. The police report said medics think she went under water because of a heart problem. The report doesn’t list the woman’s name, but it said she’s 52-years-old. It also said she went to a local hospital in critical condition.

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