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Graphic technician saves neighbor's life

Michael Brown, a graphic technician with the 452nd Services Squadron, preformed CPR Sept. 4, on a neighbor lying in the street. After five minutes of mouth to mouth, Mr. Brown was able to get the man breathing again before the paramedics arrived.

Michael Brown, a graphic technician with the 452nd Services Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., preformed cardiopulmonary resuscitation Sept. 4, 2007, on a neighbor lying in the street. After five minutes of mouth to mouth, Mr. Brown was able to get the man breathing again before the paramedics arrived. (U.S. Air Force photo/Amy Abbott)

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. -- "Keep breathing. Keep breathing. Don't give up." The uncle gently held his nephew's head and repeated the phrase as he lay in the middle of the street, his body shaking, going through convolutions and then ... everything stopped. 

At that moment Michael Brown, a graphic technician with the 452nd Services Flight and neighbor who lived nearby the scene, did the only thing left to do. He dropped down to the man's side, cleared his airway and for the next five minutes performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Finally, the man's body jolted, he coughed and began breathing again. 

"Everything happened so fast," said Mr. Brown. "I never thought I would have to use (CPR) but it's a situation where it happened quickly and you just have to respond quickly. I went through the motions, pretty much how I was trained, and it paid off. I revived him." 

Tuesday had started as an ordinary day for Mr. Brown. He had returned home from work at March Air Reserve Base and was relaxing that evening in his house when a relative came in and said there was a man lying in the middle of the street. Mr. Brown went outside to see who it was. He recognized his neighbor and knew that the man's uncle lived a couple doors down. Immediately, Mr. Brown rushed to get him. 

Around that same time Debra McCoy, a clerk with the 452nd Services Flight and another neighbor, was returning home from the store. She saw the man lying in the road and went over to see how she could help. Somebody shouted to call 911 and she rushed into the house to make the phone call then began helping divert traffic. She then saw Mr. Brown return with the man's uncle. As the uncle tried to prop his nephew's head back, the man's body began shaking violently. 

"It looked like he was going into convulsions or having a seizure," said Mrs. McCoy. "I heard his uncle saying, 'Keep breathing. Keep breathing. Don't give up.' The next thing you know I saw Michael start performing CPR." 

There were a lot of people standing around watching the scene, what Mrs. McCoy said looked like the entire neighborhood, but Mr. Brown was the only one who stepped up and took action. 

"I feel good about it, that I was able to do something for somebody like that," said Mr. Brown. "I would have wanted the same thing to happen if it was me or somebody in my family." 

After the man started breathing again and opened his eyes, the relieved family members and neighbors swarmed around Mr. Brown hugging and thanking him. A couple minutes later the paramedic pulled up and took the man away. 

"We always need to be prepared and I am so proud of him," said Iris Alexander, the services director and Mr. Brown's supervisor. "This is what (CPR) training is for, to save lives" 

A little over a month ago, she offered to send at least one person from each of the services' buildings to a CPR class. Ten people took the Saturday course, Mr. Brown being one of them. 

"The first thing I told my boss today was that I think everybody should take the course because you never know when you might need it," said Mr. Brown. "It could be any situation, anywhere, any time. The course we took that day paid off for me last night because I had to actually use it. But even more, it paid off for that man and his family." 

Mr. Brown later found out the man had asthma and probably went into asthmatic shock. 
He is still waiting to hear an update on the man's health from the family.