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High School EMS teacher hailed as hero
Terry Thomas is an Air Force veteran, a paramedic, a nurse and a high school EMS teacher. Some folks are also calling him a hero -- a title Thomas rejects.
Channel Three's Kathryn Daniel takes us to meet him.
Friday night, February 7th...West Florida's season is on the line...
"District game. We were playing Catholic, and Catholic was working on us pretty good."
"4th quarter, during a time-out, one of the coaches called, we see one of the referees, blacked out, went straight down and the next thing you know, they whole crowed is silent."
The referee collapsed right in front of West Florida senior Kishane Patel.
Within seconds, West Florida EMS teacher Terry Thomas was on the court.
Two police officers and a nurse joined him.
The referee wasn't breathing and had no pulse.
"The quietness of the whole crowd was completely quiet and it was, you could hear the quietness."
Together -- the four professionals worked...Thomas giving mouth to mouth resuscitation until a bag valve mask was brought.
Thomas says for twenty five tense minutes they fought...
"I saw a policeman do the best CPR I've every seen in my life, compressions just like a machine."
It would take three rounds of CPR and defibrillations -- shocks to the heart -- to revive the patient.
Danielle Suggs is in Mr. Thomas' home room class.
"One of the ladies from the Catholic school stood up and she said, 'our father, which art in heaven.' And everyone came in and everyone held their heads down respectfully."
"I feel more secure knowing that if something were to happen at this school, we had an emergency situation, that a teacher, someone I see everyday is at our school to help."
Thomas says he was just one of many who helped -- but the incident has become a major teachable moment.
"I kid them about the Charlie Brown voice, when they listen to a teacher they hear wah, wah, wah, wah. In this case they got to see somebody that teaches them do something."
"We didn't win the game, but we go the teacher that saved a life, he's our hero on campus."
Thomas says he has been told the referee is still in the hospital...And is on the mend.