An area man is lucky to be alive after a terrifying ordeal.
It was a hot Sunday afternoon in July, when Ken Dobush and his wife, Laurie, were on their way home from a long weekend trip at the lake. As they were pulling up to their rural home just east of Gibbons, Dobush noticed that his neighbour Gerry had his truck parked out front of his home. He and his wife began unpacking their truck when Laurie's phone rang.
"It was Gerry, and it was lucky that she even answered because we were running back and forth from the truck. All she heard was kind of a faint 'help', and she just said, 'Ken, there's something wrong with Gerry, you got to get there right now.'"
Ken raced to his neighbour's home; Gerry was in his living room, but he was having difficulty breathing and was trying to throw up. Ken knew right away he needed to call 911.
What happened next for Ken is a blur -- he recalls the 911 operator suggesting he was suffering from cardiac arrest and to find Asprin for Gerry.
"I was able to find four Asprin there in their cabinet. He took four Asprin and a gulp of water."
That's when things when from bad to worse. Gerry began to have more trouble breathing, he was turning purple, gurgling and gasping for air. As his breathing went from difficult to non-existent, Ken heard sirens.
"When I heard them coming down the highway, and I had seen he had quit breathing and he was unresponsive, I just kept beating on his chest and yelling at him," he described. "I ran out and said, 'you got to hurry, he's not breathing.'"
Paramedics spent 27 minutes working to revive Gerry. He was still unresponsive after 20 minutes of resuscitation efforts, which is when Ken said they were going to try giving him a shot of adrenaline.
"They were shocking him, and nothing was happening, so we thought that was the end of it. At the 20-minute mark, I thought it's all over. It's all over for him."
At the 27-minute mark, Gerry took a big gasp of air.
"They could have easily quit. They could have easily said, 'we're done, we've put in our 20 minutes,'" Ken continued. "I thought there was no way he was going to make it to a hospital, or never mind tomorrow morning, but he made it."
The paramedics spent about 15 more minutes working to stabilize Gerry; after he started breathing again, he was taken to the University of Alberta Hospital, where he stayed for just over a week.
Gerry is now back home and is taking things easy as he makes his recovery.
Ken credits the paramedics that day for saving his friend's life, adding that it shows what kind of a difference not giving up can make.
"He's a very lucky guy because if one of those ducks had been out of line, he wouldn't be here. It's just that simple. If we hadn't arrived home when we did, if he had been outside like he is normally, if the paramedics hadn't arrived when they did. There were so many little different factors that fell into place, and that's the only reason he is here today."
Gerry and Ken are more than just neighbours. Ken owns Longriders RV Park in Gibbons and has employed and worked with Gerry for the last 31 years.