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MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Robert and Patricia Billings reunited with firefighters Saturday who helped save Robert's life last Christmas Eve.
"We married his son off last night and we're gonna go get a horse," Patricia Billings said.
But before they went, they wanted to stop at the Shelby County Fire Department near their Millington area home. Robert Billings can’t really explain why.
“After lunch I don’t remember much of nothing," he said of last Christmas Eve.
But his wife remembered the holiday clear as day.
“He was grilling. We went out to get the steaks off the grill to bring them in. He went to the restroom and I said, 'Are you okay?' He said, 'I’m feeling a little nauseous.'”
She said he fell to the ground.
They called 911 right away and Patricia, a trained lab technician, started performing CPR.
"When you’re sitting there pumping on a chest waiting for somebody to get there, it feels like a long time. But I knew y’all were on your way," she said to the firefighters.
Paramedics took five minutes to arrive.
"We arrived on the scene, with a bystander CPR in progress. We took over CPR. We defibrulated a couple times. He was transported to the hospital," said firefighter Taurus Lewis. "They said he had 100 percent blockage of his left anterior artery, which is a 'Widowmaker’s' what they call it because it has a very low survival rate."
But officials said because of the quick responses of both his wife and paramedics, he survived. They visited the station Saturday to say "thank you."
“It puts a whole different perspective of paying that county fire fee every month because that’s what these guys get paid by. They’re worth every bit of it,” Patricia Billings said.
"Y’all done good. I’m still here,” Robert Billings said.
They highlighted the importance of knowing CPR.
"The successful outcome in this case is a result of someone at home knowing CPR and then a quick initiation of the 911 system. So that got all the players in place at right time with right tools," Shelby County Fire Department's Brent Perkins said.