Art Aquino was enjoying a late lunch at Castle Towers when he spotted a man collapse in front of the Coles store.
Art, a volunteer with both St John Ambulance and the SES, just happened to look up at the exact time that Joe William collapsed and was being supported by his wife.
“He was clinging to her,” said Art. “He was sliding down and looked in difficulties. I ran over.”
At the same time he ran over and started to help so did businessman Rob Theodoridis and both men immediately started resuscitation while Rob’s partner Connie comforted Joe’s distraught wife Cath.
“He had no pulse,” said Art. They worked on him until he started breathing again. A doctor and a nurse applied a defibrillator.
When NSW Ambulance paramedics arrived Joe suffered another episode and paramedics and police responded. He was taken to Westmead Hospital and placed in intensive care.
Art said he didn’t think twice about rushing over to help.
“The other guy had only done his CPR training two weeks before but we worked so well together.” The two life savers visited the 69-year-old from Bella Vista in hospital much to the delight of Joe and his wife.
While the incident was in May both Art and Rob have just been recognised with a St John Save a Life Award. The Award was presented by NSW Governor Margaret Beazley in the Great Hall of Sydney University. The citation ended with the sentence: “There is little doubt that this man would have passed away shortly after his collapse had is not been for the early intervention of Mr Aquino and Mr Theodoridis.”
The Save a Life Award was presented to 24 people. St John CEO Sarah Lance said their actions showed “how important first aid is”.
*Each year more than 3000 St John Volunteers provide around 180,000 hours of first aid health services at over 5000 community events and emergencies across NSW.