Heroes honored by San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District

The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District honored several heroes during a board meeting and reunited them with a man who suffered a heart attack.

They stressed the importance of CPR and that it could mean the difference between life and death.
The man they saved is Andrew Keery. He plays tennis a few times a week at the Round Hill Country Club in Alamo.

"I love the exercise the companionship playing with my friends the competition," says Keery.

But two months ago, the 48 year old suffered a heart attack while playing in a match.

"We were ahead in the match and that's where I lose it," says Keery.

He collapsed. The commotion brought a front desk worker running to the tennis court to see what was wrong.

She saw Keery lying on his side and started chest compressions.

"Honestly, you don't think about it. You just do it. You have somebody lying there. You think that’s' a life." says Deanna Tanner.

It was her first day on the job at the club. She had been trained in CPR ten years ago but had never used it.
"I kind of went over it in my head. I was even singing the song. Staying alive, staying alive as I was doing the compressions." says Tanner.

Seeing Tanner in action, Keery's friend Barry Goldstein recalled he learned CPR as a young lifeguard.
He helped with the chest compressions.
"Once I saw her start, I knew what to do with the hands and what not," says Goldstein.

Minutes later, firefighters arrived and took over. They say Keery was clinically dead. He wasn't breathing.
But they say the chest compressions made the difference.

"That gave him that extra little bit to get us the best possible thing to work with when we got on scene," said Captain Clinton Pruett with the San Ramon Valley Fire Prevention District.

On Wednesday afternoon, two months after his heart attack, Keery was reunited with the firefighters who helped save his life.

On that same evening, there was a recognition ceremony that honored the women and men who helped save Keery's life.

He now has a defibrillator implanted into his side. Keery reflects on what could have been a very different outcome.

"I wouldn't get to see my son's baseball game." says Keery. "It taught me that the things we take for granted maybe like playing tennis or spending time with my family or just a beautiful morning. All those things now are amplified times 10…20.

Keery started playing tennis again about 10 days ago. He expects to make a full recovery.

He says he'd like to do something to make this second chance count.

The husband and father say it's not just about survival but quality of life.

The message: live life to the fullest each day.