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Man thanks community for saving his life

Special Photo Brian Altus, pictured in the center with a tie, thanked local firefighters and his coworkers Thursday morning for saving his life after going into cardiac several months ago while at work.

Special Photo Brian Altus, pictured in the center with a tie, thanked local firefighters and his coworkers Thursday morning for saving his life after going into cardiac several months ago while at work.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Brian Altus remembers feeling weak just before he collapsed.

After hitting the ground -- "like a sack of potatoes" -- fellow co-workers came to the aid of the 34-year-old man, performing CPR until paramedics could arrive.

The local man is grateful to his work colleagues and local firefighters for saving his life, and he expressed his thanks during a public ceremony Thursday morning at the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services Headquarters.

Lt. Colin Rhoden said being able to honor those who saved Altus' life was "really big for us here at the fire department. The main reason why ... is because of the participation of the other citizens that took place, because a lot of times citizens may not have the skills, and they see something happening, but they don't know what to do, so they wait until emergency response comes."

Added Rhoden: "In this case, these people were able to help until our personnel were able to get there and give advance life support."

Altus said that after he went into cardiac arrest his co-workers gave him CPR. "I'm very humbled for that response from my friends," Altus said. "When something like this happens, your perspective changes, and you realize how lucky you are to still be around. Little things I used to get frustrated about...that doesn't happen anymore."

During the event, his coworkers at Multivista of Norcross received a recognition. They included Jason Weaver, Reef Tanagho, Michael Dorman and Geoff Susskind.

Emergency personnel who were recognized included Ryan Wagoner, Korey Butler, William Miller, Ryan Moore, Charles Spears, Dennis Pishock, Vic Farmer and Dustin Hall.

Rhoden said he encourages those who don't know CPR to contact Gwinnett County government to find out about classes that are offered.

For more information, call 678 518-4800 or visit www.gwinnettcounty.com.