Rick Franklin was working out at Bannockburn's Midtown Athletic Club on Sept. 27 when he heard a thud behind him.
"I looked back and saw Gary on the ground," Franklin recalled.
That was Gary Greenberg. The 58-year-old Highland Park resident had suffered a heart attack and was dying.
But thanks to the quick actions of Franklin of Deerfield, Midtown athletic trainer Rich Rossi of Buffalo Grove and others that day, Greenberg survived.
Greenberg had double-bypass surgery following the heart attack but is feeling fine now. Surrounded by friends and family, he and some of his rescuers gathered in the club's cafe Thursday to celebrate the lifesaving accomplishment.
"I can't thank you guys enough," an understandably appreciative Greenberg said.
Rossi worked with Midtown patrons -- doctors John Wolf of Lake Forest, Anita Gupta of Deerfield and Michael Sommerfeld of Northbrook -- to resuscitate Greenberg after he collapsed. They used an automated external defibrillator and CPR to get Greenberg's heart beating and his lungs pumping oxygen.
By the time Deerfield-Bannockburn Fire Protection District paramedics loaded him into an ambulance, Greenberg was alert and talking.
He even gave Rossi a thumbs-up sign.
"Rich did our job for us," fire Lt. Kevin Griegel told the crowd Thursday.
Rossi received awards from the fire department and the American Heart Association for helping Greenberg. He tried to downplay the experience, but it clearly affected him.
"For a few weeks after, I had a hard time trying to find anything of the magnitude of that," Rossi said.
Greenberg said he plans to take a CPR class and learn how to use an automated defibrillator as a way to pay back is rescuers.
"I'm going to be around a long time," he said.
The crowd applauded the sentiment.