PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — “I thought he was joking at first.”
A few seconds later, 15-year-old Walter Virany it was no joke. His friend Parker Lewis, had collapsed — his heart had stopped.
“He lost his pulse, he wasn’t breathing,” Virany recalled. “His nose was blue, his lips were blue.”
It was Saturday, Oct. 15. Walter and Parker were hanging out at the South Park Skate Park in Bethel Park, when Parker suffered a cardiac event.
“I looked at Walter, ‘I said my heart stopped,'” Lewis said.
“He dropped his phone from the bleacher he was sitting on when he collapsed to the concrete ground,” Virany said.
Walter yelled for help, then called 911. The dispatcher immediately knew Parker needed CPR.
“I just said, ‘yeah, I know CPR, I learned it last year,'” Virany said. He learned it in health class at Peters Township High School.
He performed CPR for 10 minutes until paramedics arrived.
Doctor Kevin Friend, who treated Parker at St. Clair Hospital, said that class and Walter’s presence of mind saved his friend’s life.
“They know the importance of what they do and what they teach. I’m sure they pray every days that their students would never have to use these skills,” Friend said.
On Friday, Walter received the civilian service award from Allegheny County Police.
“Walter Virany is not a cop, he’s not a paramedic, he’s not a firefighter. He’s just a very special young man who under very trying and stressful circumstances rose to the occasion,” Superintendent Coleman McDonough said.
Two families who were already close are now even closer.
“We’ll be talking about it forever, and our friendship will last forever,” Lewis said.
“I’m just glad I was privileged enough to learn the skills I needed to know in order to help my friend friend when he needed it the most,” Virany said.