Award presentation

Award Ceremony (L to R) Firefighter 2nd Class Jonathan Zoetewey, Customer Service Team Member III Brian Llamas, Recreation Supervisor Tim Stabbe, and Fire Captain Kip Korthuis

Three Boulder Parks and Recreation staff members were awarded the "Lifesaver Award" on Sept. 1 for saving the life of a community member who suffered cardiac arrest on a trail outside a recreation center. 

Everything unfolded on July 20, when tennis instructor Gonzalo Garcia saw the community member collapse on the trail, just outside North Boulder Recreation Center. Garcia ran inside the facility and found Brian Llamas, a customer service team member with Boulder Parks and Recreation rushed to the person.

Llamas called for backup from the facility's lifeguards and for staff to call 911. When they reached the unnamed community member, Llamas began performing CPR.

"Instinct took over and I did two rounds of compressions, which took about four minutes, before the lifeguards arrived and took over," Llamas said.

Deck supervisor Ian Crittenden and lifeguard Leah Sanson arrived with an automated external defibrillator and used it to deliver a shock before continuing compressions. They continued performing life-saving efforts until first responders arrived.

"Ninety percent of people in this situation don't survive," said firefighter 2nd Class Jonathan Zoetewey. "He was clinically dead."

By the time first-responders arrived, the victim who suffered from cardiac arrest regained a pulse and started breathing. The victim was taken to a hospital where they have since fully recovered, Zoetewey said. 

"Because of their training and efforts, we were more informed about the situation and had more confidence than usual that there may be a successful outcome."

On Sept. 1, Llamas was awarded the "Lifesaver Award" and recreation supervisor Tim Stabbe accepted the award on behalf of Crittenden and Sanson.

"On behalf of the Fire Rescue Department I want to thank these three BPR employees for their fast thinking and expert lifesaving techniques to help the community member survive this crisis," Zoetewey said. "He's alive because of them."

While receiving the award, Llamas thanked Zoetewey for his service for the community and said, "We may have saved a life, but it takes a community to make that happen."

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