Deliveryman & Volunteer Saves Another at Charity Organisation

Posted by cocreator on April 16, 2011
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Kevin Stewart had retired after 32 years in the Armed Forces. He was looking forward to doing some volunteer work at Martha’s Table on Princess Street.

March 1 was his first day and he was in the back of the building when he heard a commotion

“I heard somebody shout out, ‘Does anybody know CPR?’ ” Stewart said.

He had received regular training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the Forces, so he yelled back that he knew how to perform the life-saving procedure.

“I didn’t know what happened,” he said. “I walked out and the guy was on the floor.”

Volunteer John McAllister had just collapsed and was not breathing. He was having a heart attack.

Deborah Martin, another of the volunteers at Martha’s Table, said she saw McAllister fall while carrying in some buns, but she thought he had just tripped.

“I ran from the stairs and caught him and yelled ‘help.’ His face turned blue. His lips were black.

“It was not nice.”

Nobody seemed to know what to do, so Stewart quickly took charge.

“We are always given that directive in the military,” he said. “You always step up.”

He made sure somebody had called 911 and went to check on the man.

“He had started turning blue and then he seemed to come out of it to a certain extent, so I put him into the recovery position.”

Then McAllister stopped breathing again.

“So I moved him back and started CPR right away.”

Stewart was joined by UPS driver Brad Walker, who had just walked in. Walker, who is cochairman of the safety and wellness committee at UPS’s Kingston centre, had originally come to get some information for his daughter, who wanted to volunteer at Martha’s Table.

As soon as he walked in, he saw Stewart bent over McAllister and ran to help. Like Stewart, Walker gets his CPR skills updated regularly. He has been with UPS for 22 years.

The two kept up the CPR until paramedics and firefighters arrived to take over.

“They were really quick. I was shocked how fast they got here,” said Stewart.

McAllister was in hospital for a month and had a pacemaker put in, but is now back helping at Martha’s Table. The 64-year-old has been a volunteer there for 11 years.

He said he doesn’t remember a thing about what happened.

“I didn’t feel a thing,” he said. “They said I hit the floor.”

He appreciates Stewart being there that day.

“I guess it was real lucky. I want to thank him.”

He has to take things slowly for a while but otherwise feels well.

“I am up and rocking. This pacemaker seems to be doing its job.”

This was the first time Stewart had performed CPR for real.

“Even in the real situation, everything just seems to click,” he said. “You miss the odd thing, but as long as you are applying the steak and not the sizzle, that’s what counts.”

He said it was “all happenstance, between myself being here the first day and it wasn’t even his day to work here.”

McAllister normally took Tuesdays off, but had come in that day to help out.

“It was probably fortunate that he did because he might have been home alone. Everything seemed to happen for a reason.”

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