WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It's a good thing for Gary Williams that his sons are in the Boy Scouts.
On December 7th at 5:30 a.m., Williams' sons Ben, 13, and Caleb, 15, awoke to the sound of their mother's cries for help.
"She was just screaming," said Caleb Williams.
They ran into the living room to find their father on the floor. He'd lost consciousness in the middle of a morning workout.
"She was saying he had a heart attack," said Ben Williams. "His eyes were closed, he was gasping for air."
Ben called 911, then joined his brother.
Suddenly the skills they learned while earning life saving merit badges as Boy Scouts were put to the ultimate test.
"I started with compressing first, and Ben was doing the breathing," said Caleb. "And then we kind of switched off."
"We remembered everything. In that moment, I think your memory is pretty clear," he said.
Firefighters and paramedics soon arrived.
"This was what they call a widow maker," said Capt. Diana Matty of the West Palm Beach Fire Department. "Without the help of his sons, he quite possibly would have died."
Firefighters strapped on a chest compression machine and used ice and saline to cool Gary's body down to lessen stress on his heart. Gary's heart stopped beating twice on the way to the hospital.
And twice, while in the hospital, his wife, Sheila, says she was advised to take him off life support
"We just took it upon prayer, and just standing our ground," said Gary's wife, Sheila Williams.
Thirty-five days after collapsing, on January 10th, Gary Williams woke up and heard the story of why he was in a hospital, and not dead.
"Thanks to the boys for coming through and doing what they knew they had to do," said Gary Williams.
Gary now wears an automatic defibrillator.
He rehabs regularly.
The family of seven remains whole, thanks to firefighters and to Caleb and Ben, who could also be in line for badges of modesty.
"It really wasn't us who brought him back. It was God who brought him back," said Caleb Williams.
On Sunday, they will have dinner with the firefighters at Station #2.
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