Life hung in the balance at a landfill in Washington County.
“I was pretty much a goner,” Jay Crawford said.
However, when John Netz, an equipment operator at the landfill, saw Crawford having a heart attack, he said a bit of divine intervention kicked in.
“I was just in the right spot at the right time for someone who was in trouble,” Netz said.
Even though those who were the first to respond actually worked at the Solid Waste Department, they said saving lives was old hat for them.
Netz has 15 years of experience as a Sharpsburg Volunteer firefighter and when he saw Crawford convulsing in his car, Netz said he got into gear.
“I stopped the machine and jumped out. I checked for a pulse, I called for help, and I laid him out on the truck bed and started administering CPR immediately,” Netz said.
After that, a team of solid waste workers assembled to save Crawford’s life.
Denny Embly, an equipment operator, called 911, while waste employees kept Crawford going when emergency personnel was in route.
Netz began administering CPR after Crawford went unconscious and his face turned purple.
Tony Drury, operations supervisor with the waste department, began performing chest compressions while Netz gave rescue breaths.
Then, Cindi Watcher and Cathy Mills arrived on the scene with an AED.
After the AED determined that Crawford needed to be shocked, Netz performed the procedure and a faint pulse was felt.
Netz and Drury continued to perform CPR until a strong pulse could be felt.
Rich Higgins and Scott Snow, both equipment operators, guided traffic so that there would not be any interference with emergency vehicles.
All county employees are trained for CPR, use of an AED and first-aid every two years, but workers said their training happened recently in regards to the incident.
“We had it fresh in our memory and it worked out fantastic,” Drury said.
On Wednesday, all seven waste workers were awarded with the Maryland EMS Citizen Award for going above and beyond the line of garbage duty.
“I wanted to go up and hug every one of them! I could never thank them enough,” Crawford said.
“What matters to me is that he’s alive and walking around,” Netz said.
Nearly a year has passed since their rescue.