GREAT FALLS — Most of us wake up every day and go about our lives not expecting, and maybe not even wanting, to be a hero - but that's just what you might call Michelle Resler.
Resler recalled the day earlier in the summer she performed CPR on a man who was having a medical emergency in the alley next to The School House Daycare & Preschool in Great Falls where she works. "I got the wave to come on out and I went over there, being nosy. (I) went out over there and we checked on the gentleman, if he had a pulse or not a pulse. No pulse at that time, so I just got down on the ground and started administering CPR,” Resler said.
This week, Great Falls Emergency Services organized a small ceremony for her.
"We made this certificate for you for recognition of your efforts,” GFES General Manager Justin Grohs said as he handed Resler a certificate.
"I would strongly encourage everybody to learn CPR,” said Resler. "We actually had our CPR recertification two months prior to this happening. I am very grateful because otherwise I don't know if he would've survived."
Great Falls Emergency Services Medical Director Dr. Dustin Stuart said the recognition is important because it highlights a big need for the organization: "One of the biggest things we can have, or need help with, in the community is people willing to step up. People that are willing to, when they see an emergency happening be willing to be the first ones there to try and provide help."
When performing CPR, Grohs said, don't be afraid to push hard: "Ideally, expose their chest so your hands are actually on their chest and not on top of their clothing. Being on top of their clothing, you can start to skid around a little bit,” Grohs said as he demonstrated the technique. "There is an ideal spot you want to be for chest compressions. Then, you begin your chest compressions fairly rapidly and perhaps a little bit harder than one might think. Typically, when we start chest compressions we do feel some ribs break."
After the incident, Resler called the hospital and tried to get information about the man but the hospital couldn't release any information to her.
"I'm glad that he survived. I'm happy to see that he's still alive because of what I did,” Resler said when asked what she would say to the man if she had the chance.
Resler was not the only one recognized at the ceremony, however.
Grohs thanked the Great Falls police officer who happened to be nearby and responded to the scene with an AED when Resler’s mother, who also works at the daycare, called 911.
Grohs also presented EMT TeAnna Benton and paramedic Christina Wood with what are known as "code save" bars. The small, white bars go on their uniforms and indicate they helped successfully resuscitate someone.
EMT TeAnna Benton and paramedic Christina Wood: