23 minutes. That’s how long it took to bring Billy Savely, Sr. back to life. In the case of a massive heart attack, time is of the essence, and thanks to some brave and dedicated police officers, paramedics, and medical professionals, Billy would live to see another day.
The evening of March 30 was a typical Thursday night for Billy and his wife, Stephanie. Both are league-level pool players and that night they were practicing with their teams. Not long into the evening, Billy’s team members noticed he wasn’t himself and within minutes, he collapsed. Stephanie immediately placed a 911 call and first responders arrived within minutes.
Sergeant Wayne Griffin and Corporal Brandon Dugas, and PO Robert Montgomery with the Lafayette Police Department were the first to arrive on the scene. The officers wasted no time in administering CPR on Billy, who was unresponsive at this point. The officers were joined by Acadian Ambulance EMTs Luke Hennings and Dylan Laviolette and Paramedic Field Supervisor Chavo Eglip. Still in critical condition, Billy was transported by ambulance to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. Once he arrived there, the medical team acted fast to try to stabilize Billy. They were quick to recognize that the first responders had saved his life.
After several days in the hospital, Billy miraculously made a full recovery. Doctors were amazed at how quickly he recovered and at his latest check-up, Billy was told he was back to 100%. According to Billy’s medical team, surviving a heart attack of this magnitude is truly remarkable.
Several weeks ago, Billy wrote a review on the Acadian Ambulance website. He was contacted by a company representative to thank him for his positive comments of appreciation and a plan was made to reunite Billy with the first responders who saved his life. On June 1, a celebration of survival and a tribute to the first responders who saved Billy was held at the Acadian Ambulance training facility.
At the reunion, first responders were given special certificates in recognition of their brave, live-saving efforts on that fateful night. Billy’s wife, Stephanie, and his grandchildren were also in attendance to show their support and appreciation. In a recap of the event on social media, Acadian Ambulance paramedics Henning and Laviolette referred to Billy as “a walking miracle.”
With a renewed sense of humility and gratitude, Billy Savely, Sr. reflects on the experience. “I am extremely grateful to the Sergeant Griffin, Corporal Dugas, and PO Montgomery of the Lafayette Police Department, EMTs Hennings and Laviolette, and Field Supervisor Eglip of Acadian Ambulance, and the medical team at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. Without these angels on earth, my wife would be without a husband, my kids without their father, and my grandkids without a PaPaw. The gift they have given me is priceless.”
Billy has been given a new lease on life and knows that God has more work for him to do. He and his family and the team at Southside Roofing encourage everyone to recognize the good works of our first responders and consider CPR training.
Knowing CPR Saves Lives This week is June 1-7 is National CPR and AED Awareness Week. What a better time, to invest in training which could save lives. Sign up for CPR training as an individual or in groups. Businesses, sports team, church groups, and other organizations will all benefit from CPR training and certifications.
The American Heart Association offers valuable information and resources about the importance of knowing CPR. An article on the AHA website, “CPR Facts & Stats,” provides detailed information about this life-saving procedure.
Media Coverage Several local media organizations covered the story of Billy’s heart attack, recovery, and subsequent celebration of thanks to the first responders who saved his life. The stories broke on the first day of National CPR and AED week. According to Savely, “I hope that this story will help to raise awareness of the importance of knowing, CPR. I wouldn’t be alive today if the first responders had not performed CPR in time. The more people who are trained in CPR, the more lives will be saved.
Photos courtesy of Acadian Ambulance, Lafayette Police Department, KLFY, KATC, and KADN.