FAIRMONT - July 19 began as an average day for Dennis Dreyer and Brian Paradis.
Dreyer and his wife had just gotten back from a vacation in Colorado. Paradis was driving the city of Fairmont's street sweeper down East Webster Street.
But in a twist of fate, Paradis, a trained and certified CPR instructor, would be on hand to save Dreyer's life.
Brian Paradis, left, saved the life of Dennis Dreyer, right, in July when he saw Dreyer collapse in his yard while Paradis was driving a street sweeper for the city of Fairmont.
"I don't remember that day," Dreyer said. "I vaguely remember unpacking from vacation. But my wife said I was out weeding the front yard."
Dreyer lives behind the former VFW site, where the new Bank Midwest building is going up. Paradis was in his street sweeper westbound toward State Street, and then turned around to go back down Webster eastbound.
"I usually watch for people who are out on the sidewalks," Paradis said, who remembered seeing Dreyer outside in his yard. "But when I turned to go back eastbound, I saw he collapsed."
Dreyer had fainted without warning. When Paradis saw the man was down on the ground and not moving, his past training as a paramedic kicked in.
"It was something we were just trained on constantly," Paradis recalled. "You see someone down, you check the ABC - airway, breathing and circulation. There was no breathing or heartbeat, so I called 911 and started CPR."
While police and Gold Cross Ambulance arrived at the scene quickly, doctors credit Paradis for being in the right place at the right time to save Dreyer's life.
"They said within one to two minutes without circulation, you can begin to lose brain function," Dreyer said. "If he'd just called 911, it would've been too late."
Paradis, along with the first responders to the call, were honored earlier this week by the Fairmont Police Department.
"We are fortunate to have Gold Cross, because what they have is like a rolling emergency room," Paradis said. "They got everything needed in there."
Dreyer has no memory of the incident until returning to consciousness in the hospital on Saturday.
"I'm feeling well now; I'm not hurting anymore," Dreyer said. "I've had to get used to a foreign object in my shoulder, my defibrillator implant. But I can get up every morning, thank the Lord and ask Him to look over the people who helped save me, and put a smile on my face. The whole response crew here in town, I'm living proof that they're good at what they do."
Paradis has performed CPR many times in the past, but admits this was his first time just coming upon someone who needed help.
The next CPR training course in the Fairmont area will be from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Red Cross office. For more information or to register for a class, call (800)?RED-CROSS, or go online to redcross.org