Local News

AC repairman to be honored for saving man's life

Posted October 9, 2009 6:42 a.m. EDT
Updated October 9, 2009 7:04 a.m. EDT

— 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.

“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.