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Community comes together to honor a man who saved his father’s life

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 11:11 PM EDT
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PARMA, Mich. (WILX) - Warren McMurtrie knew just what to do when his dad collapsed from a heart attack. Monday night first responders honored him for the heroic effort that they say likely saved a life.

It started on April 25 with a 911 call. What came next wasn’t what anyone would expect.

Jim Hoch is Assistant Chief for the Parma-Sandstone Fire Department.

“The stress of the situation, to be doing that high quality CPR,” Hoch said. “We see a lot of people do CPR but not the quality that he was doing.”

Warren McMurtrie, a 24-year-old with autism disorder, did what he could to save his father who went unconscious and into cardiac arrest while eating breakfast. Warren began doing CPR immediately.

“My first thought was ‘try to get him onto the floor, all the way this time,’” McMurtrie said. “He was there in his chair when he collapsed.”

First responders and paramedics arrived and provided advanced care. They say Warren’s quick and efficient response saved his father’s life.

Shelby Hamilton, Senior Paramedic for Jackson Community Ambulance, said, “I can’t tell you how many scenes we come on and there’s patients that are in cardiac arrest that are on the couch or in the chair and no family is doing anything. To have such a young person that’s so knowledgeable and able to do that is fantastic.”

It was a heroic act seen by the entire community, which honored Warren Monday night with a lifesaving award.

Warren’s Dad, Howard McMurtrie, said, “I think it’s a great thing. He did a wonderful job. He deserves all the credit they give him and I think it’s good. If this ever presents itself where someone needs help, he’s willing to step up and help out.”

Warren learned how to do CPR in school and in Boy Scouts. To get an award like this is rare, so people in the Parma-Sandstone community made sure show up and celebrate.

“I was a little surprised when I walked in and saw everybody there,” Assistant Chief Hoch said. “It was awesome. Normally you have just the board members and then a couple outsiders just watching, so to walk in and have a full room, it was awesome to see.”

The support for Warren and his bravery is evident, but to Warren this was just another day.

“I just had to do what I needed to do, I guess,” Warren said. “It’s hard to put feelings into this one.”

Paramedics tell News 10 if you are in a situation where a patient is in cardiac arrest, knowing how to perform CPR could be a life saver. Updated guidelines for performing CPR can be viewed and downloaded HERE, and a list of CPR classes can be found HERE.

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