© 2010 Marica

144 – Everyday heroes

My sister, Diana, and I were deep in conversation when one of her sonís, Mario, walked into the room. As an aside Diana has five sons plus a daughter and no, the daughter wasnít number six she was number four!

It was Marioís lunch hour so he decided to pop over to the hospital to see his mother.

Our Mario is a man of few words. He sat there smiling as his mother asked him one question after another because he wasn’t forthcoming with conversation. Reluctantly he would respond to her questions but heíd only provide enough information to satisfy his mother and no more.

After a while he muttered something very quietly. I was surprised by what I heard.

ďDid you say you were getting a bravery award?Ē I asked.

Mario looked at me with his big eyes and his beautiful smile. His mother hadnít heard what heíd said so she was now surprised as well.

ďYesĒ he replied.

After some prompting, and lots more questions, my nephew shared with us the information we wanted to know. He couldnít understand what the big deal was and why we were making a fuss about him and his friend receiving a bravery award from the local Council. I kind of think pulling people from a car, performing CPR on one man and bringing him back to life is a pretty big deal.

According to the newspaper article this is what happened …

Adrenaline, quick-thinking and a good knowledge of CPR combined to save a manís life after an early morning road crash at Piha.

Rescuer Bruce Simpson was bunking down at a mateís place on Marine Pde when he heard a smash on the road outside around 2am.

The volunteer lifeguard rushed outside and found a vehicle in the creek.

The people-mover was upside down and under water when he reached it.

Bruce, 23, whipped off his shirt and jandals and dived in.

The doors were locked.

“I tried to pull them open and then kick the back window with my foot,” the Te Atatu South resident says.

“It was dark and I was right under the water.”

A passerby gave him a car jack which he used to smash the glass.

Bruce couldnít see anything but reached inside where the carís occupants grabbed at his hands. He managed to drag three to safety.

“They were screaming and crying, saying thereís still someone in there,” Bruce says.

“I told a guy on the bank to come in and hold my legs. I went under again but I was running out of breath.”

Bruce managed to get the fourth occupant out through a side window just as his friend, Mario Ozich from Swanson, joined him in the shoulder deep water.

“The guy was pretty much dead,” Mario says.

“We checked his airway and he wasnít breathing. We put him up on top of the car which was the flattest place we could find to start CPR on him.”

The men were ecstatic when their patient started breathing again.

“He spewed up water and vomit but was still unconscious,” Mario, 22, says. “You could hear his breathing but it was really husky.”

The victim was lifted to the bank where an off-duty St John member took over.

The Westpac rescue helicopter arrived soon after and flew the man to Auckland Hospital in a critical condition.

Bruce received several injuries during his heroic rescue.

“I was bleeding everywhere from the cuts on my arms. Iíve got a big gash on the bottom of my foot.”

The pair are modest about their life-saving actions.

“Itís a bit surreal to think we saved peopleís lives. It only kicks in when you talk about it,” Bruce says. “Iím just glad that we were there.”

Mario, who learned CPR at his construction job a year ago, knew one of the carís passengers from his days at school.

“He Facebooked me and said how thankful he was. He also asked for Bruceís number,” Mario says.
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The serious crash unit is investigating.

Source: Luke Parker (Friday 15 January 2010), CPR skills save a life, Western Leader, p.1

As I looked at my nephew asleep in the chair he seemed like an ordinary young man. Yet this man is far from ordinary – he did what he could to help someone in need. I’m so proud of him.

11. Every day do something for someone else.
14. Every day the ordinary can be the extraordinary.
28. Every day you will be tested.

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