Pell City's chief of police and Tony Wright present a medal to Officer Steve Gaines, who is credited with saving Wright's life after he had a heart attack. Source: WBRC video
"The willingness to take charge, and to do something, is rare," Tony Wright said. Source: WBRC video
Officer Gaines said it was a "surreal" moment after he realized he had performed CPR on a real person, and not a dummy like in training. Source: WBRC video
PELL CITY, AL (WBRC) -
A Pell City Police Officer met the man whose life he saved as he received an award Monday.
Earlier this year, Officer Steve Gaines administered CPR after a local business owner, Tony Wright, suffered a heart attack at his business, Mattress and More. Gaines heard the radio call and arrived at the business before the fire department.
Wright was on hand to help Police Chief Greg Turley present the American Police Hall of Fame Lifesaving Award to Gaines.
Gaines says the CPR training was part of his police training.
"It was afterwards, when the fire department came and took over, that I actually realized, wow, I've just done CPR on a human being, not a dummy like we've always practiced on. And it was, it was surreal," Gaines told Fox6 News after the ceremony.
"It's like I was looking at me doing it, because I wasn't thinking about it. The only thing going through my mind was, if this was my dad or my granddad, I would want somebody to do something, and I'm sure any one of us would've done the same thing."
Wright says everything he knows was told to him by others. He last remembers feeling discomfort at work before passing out.
"I remember coming into work, and walking over to our warehouse space, which is across the parking lot, and back, and under some distress," Wright said.
Wright praised the officer for his work, saying a mere "thank you" can't be enough.
"It just doesn't mean much in comparison to what this gentleman did," he said. "The willingness to take charge, and to do something, is rare."
It was the first time the two had been together since the incident earlier this year and the first time Wright had ever met Officer Gaines. Wright was unconscious while CPR was being administered.
The ceremony came at Monday's city council meeting, and also included a proclamation from Mayor Joe Funderburg.