ALTON, IL – It was June 21, 2017, and Marty Pilcic had just finished washing the dinner dishes. He felt a little woozy, so he sat down and called for his wife Jeannie to bring him an aspirin. “Something’s not right,” he said. Since Jeannie knew her husband was not a complainer, his asking for an aspirin triggered her decision to call 911. Right about then, Marty passed out.

Rosewood Heights volunteer firefighters Bobby Spurlock and Jim Sellers heard the call come in and were just around the corner. When they arrived, Marty was unresponsive and his heart had stopped beating. About a minute later, other firefighters arrived and began chest compressions.

Soon after, the Alton Memorial ambulance arrived on the scene. Paramedic Kelly McCreary and EMT Kyle Crafton had to shock Marty’s heart twice, but 12 minutes later when they placed him in the ambulance, he was conscious and talking.

Marty was monitored overnight at Alton Memorial and transferred to Christian Hospital the next day. On June 23, two stents were placed in his heart and he received a pacemaker on June 24. After a total of 10 days in the hospital, Marty was able to go home and complete his recovery.

Doctors told the Pilcics that Marty’s heart had gone into ventricular tachycardia, which causes the heart to beat too rapidly and the ventricles cannot effectively pump oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. Ventricular tachycardia can be life-threatening.

“The woozy feeling came on so fast – the room started moving and I felt so helpless,” Marty said.

“When the ambulance arrived, Kelly and Kyle took charge of the situation,” Jeannie Pilcic added. “They gave orders with a determination that they were going to do everything they could for Marty. They didn’t give up and they did all the right things. When he came to, Kelly’s voice was the first thing Marty heard.”

The Pilcics are usually private people, but after their episode they sought out their caregivers to acknowledge and thank them.

“Kelly and Kyle, and the rest of the people involved, gave us life,” Jeannie said. “We think about them nearly every day, and will especially think about them every June 21 and on Marty's birthdays.

“We needed them all and they were there for us,” Marty said. “Because of their skill and quick actions, I have more time to spend with the people I love. We will never forget them.”