CLINTON — Bruce Jarvis and his wife, Denise, have been holding hands for 41-½ years. Thanks to his co-workers, they have more time to do so.
"I will always be grateful," he said.
Jarvis, 62, of Clinton, works at Hill Air Force Base making airplane parts. On Oct. 17, he came in around 5:30 a.m. and collapsed.
"I don't remember a thing," he said. "That morning to me was just a blank."
His co-workers remember that day well.
"We ran to him, and he was unresponsive, struggling to breathe," Patrick Mulligan said.
Co-workers called 911 and did what they could for him until help arrived. What they didn't know was that Jarvis was going into cardiac arrest. But a co-worker remembered they had recently obtained a defibrillator in the shop, ran to get it and started working on Jarvis.
"We saw our friend go down, and we just went to his aid," Chuck Ecker said. "You're looking at him and you're saying, 'Come on, Bruce. Come on,' you know? It was hard."
Paramedics took Jarvis to the hospital, and doctors told him his co-workers and that defibrillator probably saved his life.
"I'm just honored to have been at the right place at the right time for my friend," Mulligan said. "We had a miracle happen here."
"They talk about how miracles happen every day? Yeah, this is a miracle," Ecker said.
Denise Jarvis agreed.
"He did die, and they brought him back to life," she said.
Denise Jarvis also remembered the first time her husband finally opened his eyes at the hospital.
"He looked at me and said, 'There's my sweetheart,' " she said.
Bruce Jarvis doesn't remember what happened that day or even speaking at his father's funeral a couple of days before, but things are slowly coming back to him.
"I feel very blessed," he said. "It's knowing that you get a second chance in life because of the valiant efforts of your co-workers and loving Heavenly Father."
Now, he has a pacemaker-defibrillator combo in his chest and says he's feeling pretty good. He gets emotional when he thinks of his co-workers and what they did to save his life.
"I wouldn't be here without them," he said. "I liked them before, and I still like them a lot."
Jarvis said he's anxious to see his buddies at the shop again and thank them personally for saving his life.
He said he feels like this is his third chance at life. In 1996, he had open heart surgery.
"I'll get it right one of these days," he said with a smile. "I'm sure I'm here for a reason."
Jarvis lost his health insurance benefits when the contractor he worked for was sold to another company about a year ago. An account has been set up for him at any America First Credit Union.
He also said he would like to see defibrillators in every building. They saved his life, he said, and could save many more.
Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc
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