Story and video at KSL.com by Mike Anderson.
TOOELE — Health studies teacher Rick Spencer says he is full of gratitude that he was able to help save the life of a fellow teacher Thursday at Tooele High School.
Spencer was walking some of his students down the hall when another teacher frantically called for his help.
“A kid sprains their ankle in gym class, I’m usually the guy they come to,” Spencer said. “I’m just glad I was here, and things went well.”
Just down the hall and around the corner, social studies teacher Alan Drake was going into cardiac arrest. One student saw him collapse as she walked into his classroom.
“What a miracle that she was there,” Spencer said.
Spencer said Drake’s skin was turning blue, so bad that he didn’t recognize him at first.
“You just let whatever training you’ve had just kind of take over,” Spencer explained. “You can’t sit around and think about everything.”
Spencer administered mouth to mouth, and then chest compressions, helping stabilize Drake until paramedics arrived. A medical helicopter landed in the school’s practice field, transporting Drake to University of Utah Hospital. Spencer says Drake was initially put under a medically induced coma but is now awake and alert.
“I didn’t realize it would be such an emotional weight, until I knew that he was doing better.” Spencer said.
“We understand he’s doing well and responding and laughing and joking with friends,” Spencer said. “I’m just excited to know he’s going to be OK.”
While Spencer is being called a hero, he says the student who witnessed the arrest and called for help deserves much of the credit.
“We keep thinking that if she wouldn’t have been there, that next class might have come in and found a dead body,” Spencer said.
He also says the experience proved just how important CPR training is. He’s hopeful more people will get certified so that they too can be ready to help others.