Firefighters honored for saving Houston man's life

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It was all hugs, handshakes and smiles at HFD Station 78 on Monday.

"We're here to celebrate a bit of a miracle," said Dr. David Persse.

Far removed from the chaos of the last time this group was together, Al and Doris Johnson made a New Year's resolution to improve their fitness. As they worked out together just a few days into the New Year, Al collapsed.

"It was a horrific thing to see, so that's how that day started," said Doris.

"I called her name and she saw me collapse and that's the last thing I remember," Al added.

He was in cardiac arrest, and Doris didn't have her cell phone so she ran outside. A neighbor started CPR, a team of firefighters and medics heard the call and were close by.

Houston firefighter and medic Meredith Sawyer was part of the team that responded.

"The patient woke up yelling and saying he couldn't breathe and he was fighting us and that was crazy," Sawyer said.

Doris Johnson says that's how she knew her husband was going to be okay.

"I have to remind myself because I don't remember it too much. But every time I look at my wife's eyes, I know she's had an emotional event," said Al.

The Johnsons have been together 38 years.

"I'm grateful for this group of people," said Doris.

The firefighters quick response will give them more.

"We don't do the job to get recognition. We do it because it's what we are meant to do," said Sawyer.

But for Al, this is a moment to thank them for his second chance.

"I know the military are heroes to us, but these people are heroes to me also," said Al.

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