Without six complete strangers, Andy Kirby might not be here today.

Without six complete strangers, Andy Kirby might not be here today.

The Calgarian was golfing with friends at Cochrane Golf Club on September 23 when he suffered a sudden heart attack and collapsed on the 9th green.

Kirby was deemed clinically dead. That is, until his friends, nearby residents and golf course staff stepped up to help the 75-year-old.

“I’m very grateful, very grateful for the generosity and kindness of people,” Kirby said. “These people couldn’t be nicer and more generous just to notice what’s going on and take action.

“It probably made all the difference for me to be here today.”

At the Cochrane EMS Citizen Action Group meeting on January 27, the group, along with Kirby, his wife and family members, were present to honor Jayman and Ricki Matlo, Cam Macdonald, Matt Belanger, Lorne Butt and Lorie Campbell for their efforts to bring Kirby back to life.

The Matlo’s opened the blinds of their Riverview home shortly after Kirby fell, to reveal him lying on the course just outside.

Ricki, a trained former lifeguard and swim instructor, rushed to assess the situation and began performing CPR.

Lorie Campbell, another nearby resident who was pregnant at the time, also ran to help.

As people began to gather to help Kirby, Cam Macdonald and his son were walking out of their nearby driveway on their way to a taekwando class, when Jayman ran over to alert them to the situation.

“I drove my van around the corner and ran to start helping out,” said Macdonald, who is a firefighter with the Calgary Fire Department. “They were doing great CPR – Lorie and Ricki.

“No one had thought of getting an AED at the time, so I immediately asked someone to find one on the golf course.”

Belanger and Butt, who work at Cochrane Golf Club, teamed up to stop play on the course and retrieve the facility’s DEA as quickly as possible.

Macdonald continued to help with compressions and providing updates to the 911 dispatch until an ambulance could arrive, about 20 minutes after the heart attack.

One of Kirby’s three daughters, Stephanie, said she learned by text from her mother that her father had had a heart attack.

“I thought she was joking at first,” she said. “Then I called her and she told me what had happened and that she was on her way to the hospital.”

Stephanie, who spoke about the incident and thanked everyone involved in rescuing her father at the January 27 meeting, said the actions taken by each person – including Kirby’s friends Pat and Marion Stewart , the latter who slapped him to make sure he hadn’t just passed out – restored his family’s faith in humanity.

“With everything going on in our world today…there are no words that do justice to describe my family’s heartfelt thanks to all of you for saving a husband, father, grandfather and a wonderful, kind friend,” she said.

Stephanie added that had it not been for the intervention of people to help and the efforts of a local paramedic, there is a chance her father would not have made it as the heart attack caused a 100% oxygen blockage.

There was no ambulance in the immediate area to respond when EMS was alerted, but a paramedic was waiting at Cochrane Fire Services for an ambulance to arrive to the scene.

“He was waiting for the ambulance driver who came from somewhere else,” Stephanie said. “He was late, and so the paramedic was waiting and waiting, and finally said, ‘I can’t wait any longer. “”

According to Stephanie, the paramedic called his supervisor to let them know he was leaving anyway and hitchhiked with one of the firefighters.

“He went against the rules, he wasn’t even allowed to go,” she said, adding that she also has friends who are paramedics. “It’s terrible. There should always be an ambulance here and I don’t see why there wouldn’t be.”

Kirby was admitted to hospital around 9 p.m. that same evening, where he underwent surgery to implant coronary stents.

It was “touch and go” that night, says his daughter. But when they returned early the next morning, around 4 a.m., he was awake and breathing on his own.

They were able to pick him up from the hospital the next day.

Kirby said there was no indication of stress or pain in his chest before the heart attack. He felt normal when he woke up that day.

“On the other hand,” he said. “I don’t remember anything about that golf game, so something was going on.”

He described the incident as a blessing in disguise as it was later discovered that he had other heart problems which required him to undergo quadruple bypass surgery.

He had surgery six weeks ago and said he was on track for a full recovery.

They kept the scorecard and the ball that Kirby was playing with that fateful day. Now it just “itches” to get back on the golf course.