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Snohomish County hero saves stranger's life in an unlikely place

Louise and Dennis Furgier were having a regular Tuesday date night until Dennis heart stopped working -- until Matt Stirk jumped in to help him survive.

Louise Furgier and her husband, Dennis, usually go to a Mexican restaurant in town on Tuesday night. It was a typical Tuesday date night until Louise's husband's heart stopped.

“The chips and salsa were there," recalled Louise, "He let off the salsa spoon. But before he got it down to the table, he just slumped against the wall.”

Matt Stirk was just leaving when he heard somebody yelled about calling 9-1-1. Stirk and his wife looked at each other, “Honey, Go!” said his wife. Matt handed her his leftovers and walked over to where Dennis was. 

“He (Matt Stirk) was the one that looked at someone right in the eyes and said, you call 9-1-1!” testified Louise.

There was a lady there who was helping check Dennis' pulse while Matt determined himself. “I think it just needs compressions. So, I was kind of like, alright, I'm gonna do this, you know,” recalled Matt.

Matt was kept going over and over again. “I just started doing straight compressions and did probably 200 more compressions. You know, 260 total in like this five, six, seven-minute span,” said Matt.

And eventually, everyone heard the sirens. “Which was the best sound I've ever heard in my life,” recalled Matt. Help was right around the corner.

Immediately, they started IV's, cut Dennis’ clothes off and shocked him to reset his heart. Because Matt kept doing compressions for six minutes, Dennis survived.

“The training that he had saved my life. The willingness of him to step out there and use that training at that moment in time, in that stressful situation, I'm sure saved my life,” said Dennise.

Matt got his CPR training through work at the Snohomish County PUD. “He lived because I kept his heart pumping with those compressions,” shared Matt Stirk on a CPR class.

He's now kind of a CPR evangelist -- stopping by classes to urge his coworkers to pay attention. Because you never know when someone might need a hero.

“I can never say thank you enough. I can never repay him for that. Just out of the goodness of his heart and his courage to step up and use what he needed to do and his knowledge - to allow me to be here today,” thanked Dennise.

RELATED: A firefighter dive into 40-degree cold water to save a woman's life

About the 2020 Snohomish County Red Cross Courage in Action Hero Award 

"Every day at the American Red Cross, we see first-hand the remarkable deeds of everyday heroes. Their stories inspire and remind us to never doubt the impact an individual can make in the lives of others."  

The next Snohomish County Heroes Breakfast is scheduled for December 10, 2020.

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