When Allan Kelly hit the marble floor of the Fairfax Government Center on June 10 he had no heartbeat or pulse. Within two minutes he had both.
That 180 degree turn in his fate was attributed to the quick responses of his son, Ian, a Fairfax County firefighter, and Stephen Wells, a County employee, who immediately retrieved a nearby Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), activated it, and virtually restarted Kelly's heart. He repeated that action a second time before County firefighters and paramedics arrived.
For his "exceptional resourcefulness and lifesaving activities," Wells was awarded Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department's "Lifesaving Award" during ceremonies at the Government Center July 25. Present for that event was the man he saved and other members of a grateful Kelly family.
"I was walking across the lobby attending the Celebrate Fairfax Exposition and the next thing I remember, woke up in the hospital the next Wednesday," said Kelly, a resident of the Cross Pointe section of Lorton. He remained in Inova Fairfax Hospital for nine days.
Standing with Wells at the ceremony, 63-year-old Kelly looked trim and fit but, as with most people who have had a brush with death, there was an element of quiet cautiousness. When asked for any advice to others, he said, "Don't smoke, eat right and get regular check ups with your doctor."
Kelly had not been to a doctor in 16 years and had no indications that there were any problems. "I had a little shortness of breath walking in from the parking lot. Now I've had a quadruple by-pass and they also found that I have diabetes," he said.
Both his son Ian, a three year firefighter assigned to Dunn Loring's Station 13, and his wife Deborah, were with him at the time of the incident. "I was in total disbelief," Deborah Kelly said. "There was no indication of anything wrong."
The Kellys have lived in Fairfax County since moving to this area from southern New Jersey in 1976. Allan is employed by the Navy Credit Union at its headquarters in Vienna. Deborah is with the Federal Government and son Adam is a GIS analyst.
Wells had just finished a tour at the County's Department of Information Technology display for the Exposition. He is a Network Telecommunications Analyst.
Five years ago a friend got Wells, a resident of Manassas, interested in becoming trained in Emergency Response Team operations. Wells received both CPR and AED training at the Fire Department Training Academy.
"It was through my personal friend Rich McKinnney that I got interested in fire and rescue operations. If it wasn't for people being so involved, I never would have gained that knowledge. But, this was definitely a team effort," Wells said.
"I had just finished up at the IT booth when I was coming across the lobby and saw him go down. When he hit the marble floor he cut his head but when I got to him I knew it was more than a bad cut. I couldn't get a heartbeat or pulse and his son was giving him CPR. That's when I ran to get the AED," Wells recalled.
For his quick thinking and professional response to a life threatening situation Battalion Chief Reginald O. Lassiter, EMS, Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department, awarded Wells the department's "Lifesaving Award." He was aided in that presentation by Captain Keith M. Ludeman of the Fire Academy Training Division.
"Thanks to your quick action and that of several firefighters Mr. Kelly was saved. You demonstrated exceptional resourcefulness and lifesaving action," Lassiter said in presenting Wells with a certificate and plaque.
"We are very happy that there was a good outcome from your efforts and training," Ludeman told Wells. Kelly also thanked Wells for his personal efforts and "everyone who participates in the Department's AED program."