At 2:30 in the morning, 72-year-old grandmother Sonja Hutchison decided to wake up her daughter, Billee Foster. “I had just woke up, and I hurt so bad,” said Hutchison. A quick online search revealed that her mother had classic symptoms of a heart attack. “I said, ‘I think I’m going to call 911’, and she said, ‘Why?’ and I said ‘I think you’re having a heart attack,'” said Foster.
Police Officer Josh Dreher arrived in less than two minutes, and was standing next to Hutchison when her heart stopped. “She died right in front of me,” said Dreher.
But Dreher is also a certified EMT and a CPR instructor for the American Heart Association. “If you can start CPR within 5 minutes of cardiac arrest, your chances of survival increase significantly,” he said.
He performed chest compression on Hutchison until firefighters arrived, and together, they brought her back to life.
Monday, for the first time since that night, she met the man who saved her life. “I am so glad to know you!” she said to Dreher. “I’m glad you’re with us today,” he replied with a big smile. “Thanks to you, sir. Thanks to you,” she said, hugging him. Hutchison called him her 7-foot guardian angel, but he assured her he is only six-foot-four and he was just doing his job. Still, he says seeing her alive is his greatest reward.
“It’s really emotional for me,” Dreher said. “It’s very comforting that what we do actually is effective in saving people’s lives.”
“Without him, I wouldn’t be here,” Hutchison said. “I wouldn’t get to be grandma. I wouldn’t still be mom. He saved me.”
Hutchison will be released tomorrow from North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley. Dreher said Hutchison’s family did the right thing by immediately calling 911.
“Heart disease is the #1 killer of women,” said Dreher.