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ABC21 Daily Extra: Heroes don’t take vacations (off-duty Fort Wayne firefighter helps save woman in Michigan)

BAY CITY, Mi. (WPTA21) - Fort Wayne Firefighter Dan Monaco started Father's Day weekend with his family taking a trip to Bay City State Park in Michigan.

It ended with Monaco playing an essential role, in saving a young woman's life.

Monaco was with his wife and children when he saw a man frantically calling 911 - his wife was unconscious on the beach.

34-year-old LeeAnn Doan had a medical emergency involving her heart.

When Monaco rushed up to check her over, he noticed her lips were blue, and she didn't have a pulse.

That's when he started CPR.

Nearby, 18-year-old Trevor Nelson came to assist Monaco.

His help was essential.

"Everything we've been trained here and the American Heart Association teaches that," Monaco explained, "you can only do real good compressions for two minutes on a patient before you switch out."

And on a 90-degree, humid June day, Nelson and Monaco took turns with chest compressions, using a metronome app to help with tempo.

Soon, local crews were able to access Doan, bringing an automatic defibrillator to restart her heart.

Bangor Township Fire Chief Rob Glenn was impressed she survived, but not because two off-duty firefighters sprang into action.

"I'd be shocked if a ten-year guy didn't get involved," Glenn said, "He did a great job. If I'm driving home after work tonight and I see a house fire, I'm probably gonig to stop, and make sure nobody's in there. That's what I'm trained to do. I don't think anybody is surprised by that. There's no 'hero' label that goes with that."

Doan disagrees.

"I know that there were so many people involved and helped me get off that beach," she told us, "I know it was more than Trevor and Dan but I feel like they were the ones to get me to that point where I could get saved. They're definitely heroes. But a lot of people helped me that day and I'm just really grateful.“

Both Nelson and Monaco shy away from the hero title, instead saying they were doing, what they were trained to do.

Monaco used the platform speaking with ABC21 to encourage people to educate themselves on CPR.

"It's so valuable and you can do it in an afternoon or evening and you just never know what kind of situation you could end up in," Monaco shared, "you could definitely be there to help someone at any time just by taking a CPR course."

Doan's husband is planning to learn CPR as well.

Glenn called up FWFD Chief Eric Lahey to praise Monaco's life-saving actions.

"The system doesn't always work perfectly, but in this instance many people had a hand in this woman's resuscitation," Glenn said, "It could've been a really bad day but instead, it's a good day. And they'll have hopefully many, many days to celebrate the day on the beach when two off-duty firefighters stepped in and assisted in saving her life."

Listen to the full story on our podcast, the ABC21 Daily:

Daniel Beals

Daniel Beals is an award-winning journalist and photographer who started his career at ABC21. He is a Michigan native and graduate of Grand Valley State University. Daniel welcomes any story idea. Feel free to reach out: dbeals@wpta21.com.

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