Caught on camera: Strangers' remarkable efforts save man's life - KCTV5

Caught on camera: Strangers' remarkable efforts save man's life

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Security cameras are usually used to capture crimes, but in this case, they recorded a group of strangers' remarkable efforts to save a man's life. (Nebraska Furniture Mart) Security cameras are usually used to capture crimes, but in this case, they recorded a group of strangers' remarkable efforts to save a man's life. (Nebraska Furniture Mart)
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Security cameras are usually used to capture crimes, but in this case, they recorded a group of strangers' remarkable efforts to save a man's life.

Kurt Gowdy says he's so thankful it happened at the Nebraska Furniture Mart near The Legends, because employees knew how to react.

Every person involved says they are proof that having proper training is the difference between life and death. Their hope is that this will convince others to take the steps to get certified for CPR and a defibrillator.

Out of the blue, Gowdy did a face plant on the floor and went into full cardiac arrest. Those nearby could tell by the look in Gowdy's eyes that he wasn't there. The group of strangers jumped in to save his life without hesitation.

"Oh, very fortunate, there's no doubt about it, but I do believe I was put in that place for a reason," Gowdy said.

Gowdy says someone was watching out for him that October day, placing him in Nebraska Furniture Mart where employees are trained on AED, or defibrillator machines, and CPR.

Nebraska Furniture Mart security officer Will Williams shocked Gowdy back to life.

"I hit the button, sent a shock to him. He kind of raises up off the floor a good two or three feet," Williams said.

In total, Gowdy was shocked five times. His heart stopped once. He was out cold for 13 minutes. Two off-duty police officers were also shopping nearby. 

One of those officers was from Topeka. The other, Jon Best, was from Kansas City, MO. Best heard Gowdy fall and hit his head.

"Checked for a pulse in the wrist ... couldn't find one," Best said.

The two officers immediately started CPR. Left with a 40-percent chance of survival, Gowdy has beat the odds.

"To be right there in that place and have three people respond, I consider that very, very lucky," Gowdy said.

Gowdy now considers it his duty to get his message out about the importance of emergency response training.

Nebraska Furniture Mart has now saved three lives in about four years. One was a baby who stopped breathing.

"I would recommend any business owner be prepared. It is not that expensive. Training is not that hard to learn CPR. Defibrillators are not that expensive," Jim Cahill, NFM Security Manager, said.

And on the couch they shopped for that same day, Gowdy's wife says you can't put a price on life. Considering just last month, she nearly watched her husband pass.

"If he had been at home by himself, he probably wouldn't be here," Miriam Gowdy said.

It's why the strangers who saved Kurt Gowdy's life are his heroes. Having them prepared like that is a good service to the community. But they'll tell anyone that hey simply did what more people should be able to do.

"I consider myself as one citizen helping another citizen. It is a job you are trained to do, and if it happens, you do it unselfishly," Williams said.

If you own a business and have an AED in the building, it is a law that you train the necessary employees on how to use it. The America Red Cross can help you do this. If you don't have an AED, you should get one.

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