The Rev. Fred R. Fuller decided to take a cardiopulmonary resuscitation course from the Red Cross a few years ago "just in case."
In mid-February last year, on his way to conduct a service at his Chattanooga First Seventh-day Adventist Church, Mr. Fuller's just-in-case training became a just-in-time reality.
Encountering a man standing by the road, frantically waving his arms for help, Mr. Fuller discovered a second man lying on the ground, unconscious and barely breathing.
"First, I pulled his dentures out of the back of his throat," he said. "Then I administered CPR until the EMTs arrived. I didn't think he was going to make it, but he did."
And because the man survived, the local American Red Cross chapter honored Mr. Fuller with its First Responder award at its Hometown Heroes Awards luncheon Monday at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Joining him as winners among the 15 nominees were Hannah McKinney, Jade Van Hook, Jordan Gardner and Hannah Cecil (Good Samaritan Youth); Dot Garrett (Hospital Volunteer); Will John Rowe (Disaster Volunteer); and Jim Bailey (Good Samaritan Adult).
Helping make the event a success was guest speaker Jeff Fisher, coach of the Tennessee Titans, whose autographed football was auctioned off to Jasper, Tenn., resident Stan Wilson for $1,000.
"My wife (Rebecca) volunteers for the Red Cross," Mr. Wilson said. "While they were taking bids, she asked me if she could borrow $1,000. I said, 'Heck, I'll do it. It's for a wonderful cause.'"
That cause is why Mr. Fisher drove from Nashville on a day when he had to return quickly to meet with NFL free agents.
"When I was first approached about this, I said, 'I'm there. If I have to change my schedule, I'll be there,'" he said. "I've worked with the Red Cross in the past -- I've actually operated a chainsaw to clear some tree limbs -- so I was honored to be asked to come to Chattanooga for this event."
As for Mr. Fuller, he's just happy he completed his CPR training.
"To be able to use it at the right time at the right place when somebody needs it is just a tremendous thing," he said.
RED CROSS HONOREES
Good Samaritan Youth -- Hannah McKinney, Jade Van Hook, Jordan Gardner and Hannah Cecil
Hospital Volunteer -- Dot Garrett
Disaster Volunteer -- Will John Rowe
Good Samaritan Adult -- Jim Bailey