When Naperville resident Pamela Ramsey met Dwight Henricksen, of Ohio, Monday in Bloomingdale, it was under much happier circumstances than their first encounter.
The two reunited, along with Bloomingdale Police officer Steve Abruzzo, during a ceremony at Bloomingdale village hall that honored Ramsey and Abruzzo for saving the Columbus man's life in February.
The award was from the Bloomingdale Character Counts! Coalition.
"People keep making a big deal of it, and I guess it is, but I just did what I thought was necessary to keep this man alive," said Ramsey.
Ramsey, a preschool teacher at Bright Horizons in Lisle, was finishing publicity work for her husband's band at the Bloomingdale Golf Club around 6 p.m. Feb. 28. She then heard someone yell that a man collapsed and hit his head in the parking lot, as he left a birthday party at the club.
Ramsey ran to help, and found 46-year-old Henricksen unconscious, not breathing and without a pulse, she said. Officials later confirmed he suffered a heart attack that also caused his fall to the ground.
So Ramsey launched into the CPR she learned biannually as part of her teaching requirements. It was the first time she had ever needed to use her training.
"I didn't even think of what to do first," she said.
Ramsey continued CPR for nearly two minutes until he began to breathe on his own.
"It's funny, because I was thinking just the other day how we recertify every few years and sometimes you're in class thinking 'Oh, I know this stuff already!' But when I became a grandma last year, I went to Edward (Hospital in Naperville) for extra CPR and first aid. And I'm just so glad."
But just moments later Henricksen stopped breathing once more, officials said, and officer Abruzzo arrived on the scene and took over first aid.
Abruzzo performed CPR for approximately one minute until Bloomingdale Fire Protection District paramedics took over life-saving measures.
"Of course you get involved in your job, do what's right and what you were trained to do and it all kicks in," said Abbruzzo.
"But what's really important that it all started with Pam and her immediate response, then getting the fire department there to work their magic, which is what really saves people."
Monday was the first time the three met face-to-face again, although Abbruzzo previously spoke to Henricksen, who told him he is doing well but must modify some activities.
Ramsey also said she received a touching homemade card from the Henricksen family that brought her to tears.
"I will keep it for the rest of my life," she said. "It's just amazing. The old cliche is about being in the right place at the right time, but it's really true."