Kent man meets, thanks those who saved his life

In the company of family and friends, strangers and paramedics, Ron Jarvis realizes just how fragile life can be – his very own life.

Kent's Ron Jarvis meets paramedics and firefighters for the first time Sunday since his heart attack a month ago. Jarvis requested the gathering so he could personally thank those who revived and took care of him.

Kent's Ron Jarvis meets paramedics and firefighters for the first time Sunday since his heart attack a month ago. Jarvis requested the gathering so he could personally thank those who revived and took care of him.

In the company of family and friends, strangers and paramedics, Ron Jarvis realizes just how fragile life can be – his very own life.

It’s because of their quick actions that the good-natured, 72-year-old Kent man is living today.

At his request, Jarvis reunited with the people responsible for saving his life only a month ago, meeting the first responders for the first time at an impromptu gathering at Kent Fire Station 74 on Sunday morning.

It was his opportunity to say thank you.

Jarvis suffered a heart attack at a local gun range on Oct. 16, but through the help of others, defied the odds, survived and made a swift recovery.

The semi-retired financial planner, a longtime Kent resident, is back to full strength, and lives to tell about it.

“I thank you,” an appreciative Jarvis told the group of family, friends, firefighters, paramedics and other trained staff from the Kent, Renton and Tukwila fire departments. “The EMTs in the Seattle area are the best in the country. And the main reason they are is because they never give up. … That holds true with you guys, so thank you.”

Jarvis was shooting at the Champion Arms Gun Shop & Indoor Shooting Center off East Valley Highway in Kent, when he suddenly collapsed. He was dropping to his knees, holding the separation wall between the lanes before his friend, Mike Sanderson, who was in the next shooting lane, responded, carefully lowering Jarvis to the ground and hollering for the range officers to immediately call 911.

Another shooter, Mark Thompson, of Federal Way, stepped forward, and together with his wife, Judy, initiated CPR.

“Glad to do my part,” Mark Thompson told Jarvis after meeting him Sunday for the first time since the incident. “That’s what neighbors do.”

Firefighters and paramedics from Renton and Tukwila soon responded – dispatched out of the same 911 call center, Valley Com.

According to Kent Fire Capt. Kyle Ohashi, the CPR performed by the Thompsons was a critical step, one of many in a “chain of survival” sequence that ultimately saved Jarvis’ life.

The CPR performed prior to the arrival of firefighters, Ohashi explained, kept an oxygen supply going to Jarvis’s brain and heart, a necessity to have any chance of reviving him. The CPR also increased the chances of a positive outcome by allowing firefighters an opportunity to apply electrical shocks to the patient’s heart.

“King County has the highest save rate from witnessed cardiac arrest in the country and this incident is a perfect example of why that is,” Ohashi said.

According to paramedics, it took about 45 minutes of CPR and 12 shocks from the defibrillator to get Jarvis’ heart going again. Once stabilized, Jarvis was sent to nearby Valley Medical Center for emergency care.

For Jarvis, the incident remains a bit fuzzy, even to this day.

“The last thing I remembered anything was parking my car at the range, and then I woke up three days later coming out of an induced coma,” he said.

But good friends and quick actions enabled Jarvis to pull through.

Jarvis appreciates all their work.

“I love them. Nice guys,” he said. “For me, it means a new life.”


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