When an elderly man had a car accident, suffered a heart attack and nearly died on May 5, it was a police officer's quick action that saved his life — a fact that hasn't been lost on Paul McGarvey, the 88-year-old man who says that he's more than thankful to be alive.
McGarvey, 88, went out of his way earlier this month to express gratitude toward Officer Duane Hostikka, a police officer in North Kansas City, Missouri, who arrived on the scene, couldn't find a pulse and began administering CPR, WDAF-TV reported.
After McGarvey survived and recovered, he was so moved by the police officers, firefighters and ambulance workers who helped nurse him back to health that he asked if he could attend a city council meeting to deliver a heartfelt letter of appreciation to them all; officials said yes.
"I think we miss a lot in life, by not being appreciative and expressing it to one another," McGarvey told WDAF-TV. "Without them, I don`t know if I’d still be here."
Standing at a podium before both government officials and first responders at a July 7 meeting, McGarvey said that he was struggling to find the words to express just how grateful he is for their swift and caring action.
Watch the touching presentation of his letter of gratitude below via Northland News:
"It was a joint effort of police firefighters paramedics, doctors and ambulance crew who worked together to resuscitate me. I'm very thankful," he said. "I especially want to thank officer Hostikka who climbed through the passenger seat of my car and began chest compressions. It worked. I have 7 broken ribs — and I also have life again."
The silence that had overtaken the room was pierced by brief laughter over McGarvey's quip about his broken ribs. As it quickly subsided, he continued to read the letter, which highlighted his belief that God sent rescuers in time to save his life.
"Each day I celebrate and give thanks to God for sending officer Hostikka and team to my rescue," McGarvey said. "As the word spread, so did prayers all across our city and country. I am very grateful."
He then recited a Christian song titled, "My Tribute," saying that its lyrics continue "ringing in [his] heart" following the rescue. The lyrics that McGarvey read are, in part:
"How can I say thanks for the things you have done for me, things so undeserved, yet you came to prove your love for me. The voices of a million angels could not express my gratitude. All that I am and ever hope to be, I owe it all to thee, to God be the glory, to God be the glory. With his blood he has saved me, with his power he has raised me. To God be the flory for the things he has done."
McGarvey, who is in relatively good health and is back to normal following the medical scare, made a real impact on Hostikka, among other first responders.
"That hit our hearts," the officer told WDAF-TV. "It lets us know that we did something right that day."