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AC repairman to be honored for saving man's life

Posted October 9, 2009

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— An air conditioning repairman will be honored Saturday for saving a customer who was having a heart attack this past August.

A national fraternal organization called Woodmen of the World will honor repairman Aaron Gerrell at the group's lodge in Benson at 5 p.m. Saturday.

On Aug. 11, Gerrell decided to stop at Todd Borton's house in Smithfield to check on a newly installed AC unit. That unexpected stop ended up saving Borton's life.

AC repairman saves Smithfield man Smithfield man gets CPR from repairman

“I was just coming down 301 and I said, ‘Well, I just need to stop and see if there’s good air flow in his vents,’” Gerrell said. “For some reason, I just pulled over and knocked on the door."

Borton said the two checked the vents in the house and looked at the thermostat. He doesn't remember anything after that.

“All of a sudden Todd went into a jerk and fell backwards,” Gerrell said. “His head hit the dryer. I knew right then that something was drastically wrong.”

Borton, 47, a father of seven children, had suffered a massive heart attack.

“I jumped on him, did CPR,” Gerrell said. “His heart had stopped.”

Gerrell, who used to work on a rescue squad in the 1970s, got Borton’s heart pumping again, and kept him alive until paramedics arrived.

“It was absolutely critical. His actions gave us something to work with when we got there,” Smithfield paramedic David Minor said. “That’s why early CPR is stressed so much because it gives EMS a chance when we get there if compressions are continuous.”

Borton said he considers Gerrell a good friend. “He did a wonderful thing,” he said.

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  • Vietnam Vet Oct 9, 2009

    Great story...excellent change from the normally depressing news. There are still good people out there.
    I wholeheartedly agree!! It's nice to know that there are some good people out there.

  • Professor Oct 9, 2009

    WONDERFUL!

  • TallWillow Oct 9, 2009

    Kudos to this man...did what 99% or the readers on here would never have done. I've been in EMS for 20+ years and and you NEVER see anyone other than a close relative doing CPR... So sad the rest of our society is too self centered and weak to jump in and help their fellow man. dhb

    While I'll agree that Mr. Gerrell richly deserves the honor, I have to disagree with this comment.

    One possible reason for only seeing relatives giving CPR is that they're usually the only ones around. I'm over 50 and have only once been around someone having a heart attack--nearly 30 years ago. In that situation, I would have been more in the way than helpful, since there were already several other co-workers, including a former nurse, working to revive him.

  • christinebbd Oct 9, 2009

    GREAT GUY! It's nice to hear of a serviceman taking such good care of his customers, but hearing what else happened after he stopped by is icing on the cake! WOW! Thanks WRAL for updating us on this great story.

  • intuit Oct 9, 2009

    Great work! He is to be commended. And thank goodness he followed God's direction to make that unexpected stop.

  • doghousebrewery Oct 9, 2009

    Kudos to this man...did what 99% or the readers on here would never have done. I've been in EMS for 20+ years and and you NEVER see anyone other than a close relative doing CPR...This guy definately deserves to be recognized. So sad the rest of our society is too self centered and weak to jump in and help their fellow man.

  • Imagine 722 Oct 9, 2009

    live the truth, I agree :)

  • Space Mountain Oct 9, 2009

    Great story. I'd have a heart attack, too, if I had seven kids.

  • turdferguson Oct 9, 2009

    Great story...excellent change from the normally depressing news. There are still good people out there.

  • ICTrue Oct 9, 2009

    This is great that this man is being recognized. I remember reading this story back in August. I hope both men are doing well and that the repair man's business is booming as a result of the publicity.

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