It Takes a Village: Greeley Fire Recognizes 17 People for Lifesaving Actions

Last month, Tom Crawford experienced sudden cardiac arrest while playing basketball while at the Greeley Recreation Center. He survived thanks to the quick actions of his friends and teammates, the facility staff, Weld County Regional Communications, Greeley paramedics and firefighters, and medical staff.

Early in the morning on Oct. 4, five Greeley residents visited the downtown Rec Center, just as they did every other Tuesday morning. Each checked in at the counter and headed to the auxiliary gym for a game of pick-up basketball among friends.

As they walked through the gym, they passed the facility’s Automated External Defibrillator (AED). They didn’t realize it would later be used to resuscitate their friend Tom Crawford.

“I’m blessed to be here today,” Tom said.

In the midst of the game, Tom suddenly collapsed, experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. As he lay lifeless on the gymnasium floor, his friends jumped into action. They immediately started CPR and notified city staff. The staff members onsite took over, deployed the AED, and called 911. Emergency crews arrived and took over care.

Because of this swift, critical response, Tom slowing began to show signs of life. By the time medics loaded him into an ambulance, he was even speaking again.

The Greeley Fire Department (GFD) held a small, special ceremony to recognize that quick work and the lifesaving actions performed by 17 people that day.

As Fire Chief Brian Kuznik said at the ceremony: “It takes a village to save a life.”


At the ceremony, Kuznik recognized 17 people.

City of Greeley staff:

  • Armando Asseiss
  • Megan Miller
  • Brecklyn Everhart
  • Jose Rentas
  • Alyssa Rodriguez

Community members and facility patrons:

  • Dave Christiansen
  • Bill Martinez
  • Dean Stumpf
  • Larry Lawton
  • Jim Connelly

Greeley Fire Department – Ladder 1 B Shift:

  • Lt. Matt Hawkins
  • Engineer Chad Getting
  • Firefighter Colton Adams
  • Firefighter Pat McCarthy

UCHealth (UCH) – Medic 16:

  • Jose Rios-Ochoa – EMT B
  • Gail Stallings – Paramedic

Weld County Regional Communications:

  • Michelle Jones – Dispatcher

Replay the Ceremony

Download and read the complete transcript from the pinning ceremony.

Heart Safe City

About 10 years ago, City of Greeley, Greeley Fire Department, Banner Paramedics, CardioVascular Institute of North Colorado at North Colorado Medical Center (NCMC), and the NCMC Foundation officials established a vision to become a Heart Safe City.

The Heart Safe City designation, sponsored by the American Heart Association, is a community-wide effort to educate communities on the dangers of sudden cardiac arrest. Identifying symptoms, learning how to administer CPR, and AEDs are major components of the Heart Safe City designation.

In 2013, that vision became a reality when the City of Greeley achieved the Heart Safe City designation.

To date, and primarily through grants and donations led and supported by the NCMC Foundation and several other organizations, there are nearly 90 AEDs in the Greeley community and hundreds of people have been trained to provide CPR.

AED donation

Kuznik thanked Kaiser Permanente for the donation of the AED used in the lifesaving action.

Greeley Fire Department statistics

The Greeley Fire Department responds to thousands of calls each year.

This year so far—January through Oct. 20, 2022:

  • Total Calls for Service – 14,128
  • Total EMS Calls for Service – 12,144—this will ultimately make up about 75-80% of all calls for service
  • Total Transports – 7,960—number of transports to the hospital by UCH
  • Total Emergent Transports – 503—number of transports requiring an emergent response to the hospital
  • GFD and UCH responded to 67 calls involving sudden cardiac arrest
  • AEDs have been deployed five times prior to arrival of the fire department and emergency medical services
  • Bystander CPR was documented as being performed 23 times prior to GFD and EMS arrival.

CPR training

Would you know what to when faced with an emergency? Greeley Recreation offers heart saver first aid and CPR training so you can prepare yourself for a medical emergency and learn basic first aid. Become trained in proper CPR techniques and the use of an AED machine.