It was supposed to be a normal day for Mark Salmon, a former Marine, and his father, Dave. They were on their way to go shopping. But Dave suddenly became unresponsive; he was having a heart attack. The family car was coasting slowly and hit a retaining wall. Thankfully, the airbags did not go off and Mark was able to get out and start compressions. He pulled his father out of the car and struggled to check for a pulse; there was none. And that’s when Mark’s army training kicked in.
“That’s what we’re taught,” he said. “It’s the difference between training and knowledge. Training invokes mussel memory, it invokes habit, it invokes proper form. Doing the right things, so your brain doesn’t have to think, you just do it. It’s repetitive action.”
Meanwhile, Justin Aller, a neighbor, heard the car crash. Curious, he went outside to see what the commotion was. Aller recalls, “I heard the crash, I didn’t even think anything of it at first. The only reason I’d even walked out is because I’ve heard someone slide down this hill and slide into my vehicle.” What greeted Aller, however, was the sight of Mark trying to save his father. Aller immediately ran over to help. He took over chest compressions while Mark did mouth-to-mouth until medical personnel arrived.
Dave was taken to the hospital where he made a full recovery. And on top of that, he’s feeling incredibly grateful to his son and neighbor. But Mark and Justin just maintain that they were in the right place at the right time. Knowing CPR didn’t hurt, either.