PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was an emotional and joyful reunion Saturday for a Steelers fan from Indiana who suffered a heart attack while visiting the city last year.
Jay Gebhardt and his family returned to Pittsburgh this weekend to say thank you to the paramedics who helped to save his life.
Gebhardt came face to face with the City of Pittsburgh paramedics who saved his life after he suffered a massive heart attack. He calls them angels.
“I’m here because of you guys basically,” Gebhardt told his rescuers.
“I’m glad we were there; I’m glad to be a part of it, it really makes the job worth doing,” said Stacey Yaris, a Pittsburgh paramedic.
Gebhardt a Valparaiso, Ind., resident who was born in Pittsburgh, was in town for a Steelers game last December. He stopped at a convenience store in Downtown Pittsburgh to get something for heart burn and collapsed from cardiac arrest.
That’s when he says the angels responded – a store clerk who was a nursing student and a stranger gave him CPR. Paramedics arrived a few minutes later.
“We recognized that he was in a dysrhythmia; we treated that dysrhythmia with electricity and with drugs,” said Yaris.
Once they restored a pulse, Gebhardt was taken to the emergency room. Ten days later, he was released from Mercy Hospital.
Today, Gebhardt is fully recovered and back with his family.
“To see the proof that what we did made a difference is very heartwarming, makes doing this job all worth every training day, every bad call,” said Dawn Matteo, a Pittsburgh paramedic.
“It’s really emotional for me, but it’s also what I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to say thank you,” said Gebhardt. “You guys being here puts them in the spotlight and I think they deserve it.”
The Gebhardts are back in town to see the Steelers play on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, but Pittsburgh will always be a very special place.
“I made a comment it was the real city of angels and the real city of brotherly love,” said Susan Brown Gebhardt, Jay’s wife. “I still believe that.”
“My wife has always said I was 500 miles away from home, and in the right place at the right time, that’s how I look at it too,” Gebhardt added.