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Event gathers cardiac arrest survivors and the people who kept them alive for a tribute to the city's remarkable save rate

REVIEW PHOTOS: JAIME VALDEZ - Brent Keeton thanks Joe Hires, a paramedic with the Lake Oswego Fire Department, who helped save his life in 2012 after he suffered a heart attack. The reunion took place during the 'Rise and Shine: A Celebration of Survival' event at the Lake Oswego Fire Department's Main Fire Station.On the morning of July 20, 2012, Brent Keeton was enjoying a morning waterskiing session on Oswego Lake with friends Tom and Brad Stern. Keeton was the first to ski, and after taking a few laps around the lake, he went down and accidentally swallowed some water.

REVIEW PHOTOS: JAIME VALDEZ - Matt Troy (left) is reunited with Justin Brill (right) during last week's 'Rise and Shine: A Celebration of Survival' event in Lake Oswego. Troy administered CPR and saved Brill's life after he suffered a heart attack."I got back in the boat and I wasn't feeling very good," Keeton said. "Brad went next and we kept going for a bit, but I was still feeling funny."

As the morning went on, Keeton's condition deteriorated, and he remembers being puzzled about what was happening to him. When the group got back to the Sterns' boat house and started to lift the boat out of the water, Keeton couldn't climb onto the dock.

Panicked about his friend's condition, Brad Stern called 911 and requested medical assistance. Within a short time, a crew from the Lake Oswego Fire Department arrived and quickly determined that Keeton was going into cardiac arrest.

"The next thing I remember is being carried up the steps on a gurney," Keeton said. "An angel was staring down at me, and he said, 'Welcome back.'"

That angel was LOFD driver-engineer Joe Hires, who was at Keeton's side again last week for "Rise and Shine: A Celebration of Survival," a breakfast event held annually at the Main Fire Station downtown. It was a chance for Keeton and nearly a dozen other survivors of cardiac arrest to share their stories and catch up with the first responders who saved them.

It was also an opportunity for the Keeton and Stern families to announce that they are collectively donating $10,000 to the Fire Benevolent Fund in honor of the LOFD's high level of service to the community.

REVIEW PHOTOS: JAIME VALDEZ - Matt Troy (left) is thanked for administering CPR to Justin Brill by  Lake Oswego Fire Chief Don Johnson and Lake Oswego Police Chief Dale Jorgensen during the 'Rise and Shine: A Celebration of Survival' event at the Lake Oswego Fire Department's Main Fire Station.The department is one of the premier fire and emergency response departments in Oregon, with a cardiac-arrest save rate of 21 percent. That's more than twice the national average and a direct reflection of community-wide programs that train citizens of all ages how to perform Hands-Only CPR and use devices like Automated External Defibrillators, which are carried in every police and fire department vehicle and stationed in parks and buildings across the city.

According to LOFD data, the department saved 29 people from cardiac arrest between January 2011 and December 2017. During that same time period, the LOFD also identified 60 people who were experiencing a heart attack and provided early diagnostics to the cardiology staff at waiting hospitals.

REVIEW PHOTOS: JAIME VALDEZ - Audrey Rossman recognizes a 911 dispatcher for helping her husband save her life after suffering a heart attack. Rossman was one of several survivors who attended last week's 'Rise and Shine: A Celebration of Survival' event in Lake Oswego."Every time I look out at this crowd and these (survivors), this is what it's all about. This is why we're here," said Dr. Ritu Sahni, LOFD's resident physician adviser. "We're very glad you're here with us today."

Sahni, who recently received the Friends of EMS Award from the National Association of EMS Physicians, was joined at the podium by Fire Chief Don Johnson and Assistant Chief Dave Morris. They all talked about the importance of LOFD's "chain of survival," a process of emergency response that begins with Lake Oswego Communications dispatchers, requires the hustle and prowess of LOFD's line firefighters and paramedics, a partnership with American Medical Response, and the quick thinking of bystanders on the scene.

One of those quick-thinking bystanders, Matt Troy, was in attendance at the "Celebration of Survival," where he was honored for his heroism in performing CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a man who had collapsed in the Meadows Road office building where he works just a few weeks ago.

When Troy came onto the scene, he immediately started performing compressions on Justin Brill's chest.

"I'm not a hero. I just did what needed to be done," Troy told the audience.

But according to Morris, if it weren't for Troy stepping up to help, Brill would not be alive today.

"This is a great opportunity for these folks to meet their rescuers, both professional and bystanders — the folks that helped them on the dispatch end, our police officers and community partners. It's a chance for everyone to come together and recognize what a great community we live in, one that supports these kinds of programs to have the save rate we have," Morris said.

Lake Oswego Police Department Officer Jeff Oliver — who in recent weeks used his CPR training to save a life — and Officer Bryan McMahon were also singled out among the crowd of LOFD partners in the audience for their work teaching CPR to all of the LOPD's officers, as well as to different groups within the City and across the community.

Contact Lake Oswego Review reporter Sam Stites at 503-479-2375 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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