By Clark Pierce

Recently, Thomas "Pete" Pietro and his wife visited the NAS Jacksonville Fire Station with a large sheet cake to share their heartfelt thanks with the first responders for saving Pete's life when he suffered cardiac arrest while golfing on base.

Firefighter/Paramedic Brittany Pellerin remembers this past Labor Day when the station received the 9-1-1 call for a "man down on the NAS Jacksonville Golf Course for a head injury."

As Pellerin and her team drove to the golf course with sirens blaring, they discussed that they may be dealing with a cardiac arrest situation.  

"Sure enough, when we arrived at the Red Course No. 8 hole, bystanders (other golfers) were already administering CPR. As we transported the patient to Naval Hospital Jacksonville Emergency Department, we continued with three more rounds of CPR and re-established his pulse," said Pellerin.

 When Naval Hospital Jacksonville physicians determined the patient was experiencing a massive heart attack, arrangements were made to fly him by air ambulance to UF Health Jacksonville for further diagnosis and treatment in their heart catheterization lab.

"This event was just what we train for," said Fire Chief Scott Bloomer. "Our initial fast response, along with treatment at Naval Hospital probably made the difference in Pete's positive outcome.

An Air Force retiree, Pietro tries to play in the Senior Blitz every Saturday at NAS Jacksonville Golf Course. 

"They said I was playing my best round ever - but I'll be darned if I can remember any of it," said Pietro. "You'd think that I'd at least remember the helicopter ride."

The cardiologists at UF Health discovered one of Pietro's coronary stents implanted in 2007 had clogged up and blocked an artery.

Pietro said, "To this room full of dedicated firefighters, paramedics and engineers there's just one thing I want to say and that is 'thank you' - because of your life saving actions I've been given more time with my family, not to mention some more Senior Blitz Saturdays."