Special Photo Peachtree Corners resident David Elkins, left, shakes hands with Gwinnett County Fire Engineer Mike Jones who helped save his life during a cardiac event Jan. 6 at his home. Elkins visited Fire Station No. 4 on Friday to thank Jones and the rest of the crew from that day.
PEACHTREE CORNERS -- On Friday afternoon, David Elkins thanked the men who saved his life.
Twelve days after he had to be shocked back to life and rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital, Elkins, a Peachtree Corners resident, stopped by Gwinnett County Fire Station No. 4 to shake the hands of five men who helped keep his heart pumping.
After meeting Fire Engineer Mike Jones -- the eight-year department veteran who kickstarted his heart with a defibrillator -- Elkins said he "couldn't imagine not coming back and saying thank you" to him and his crew.
"You guys are like angels," he said.
Jones said the incident on the morning of Jan. 6 is easy to remember, even with several since. After initial examinations left paramedics on the fence about how to act, a second reading left them with no choice.
Once in the ambulance, Elkins had to be defibrillated if he was going to survive a cardiac event, even though he was, to use the common firefighter parlance, "conscious, alert and breathing."
"I'm glad it worked the first time, because I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have let me do it again," Jones said. "It doesn't feel very good. His exact words were, 'If you have to do that to me again, just let me die.'"
Elkins was grateful, of course, but described the sensation as similar to having a shotgun go off against his chest.
After about a week in the hospital, Elkins, who just moved to Gwinnett about six months ago, was released.
"They saved my life, they really did," he said. "If they hadn't shocked me in the ambulance I probably wouldn't be here. These guys just did a such a wonderful job and handled me well, and I felt very, very obligated to thank them."
Along with Jones, the crew that day consisted of Firefighter (and ambulance driver) Kyle Morrison, Lt. Jason Stanley and firefighters Daniel Beaver and Tyler Veronee.
"We run a lot of calls, but we don't always get to do one where you walk away knowing that you and your crew really made a difference," Jones said. "And we all did that day."