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Strangers who saved a life meet face to face

By Lauren Maxwell 8:40 PM December 17, 2013

Dispatcher says patient’s friend is real hero

ANCHORAGE - A special reunion ceremony was held for an Anchorage man and the people who saved his life.

Kevin Thompson had never met the medics who took him to the hospital after he had a heart attack in his garage last month. He got that chance Tuesday.

But it was also a special event for another man. Paul Spychalski, Thomspon’s friend, was with him when Thompson nearly died.

Spychalski performed life-saving CPR as he called 911. Today, he got to meet the dispatcher who talked him through the entire ordeal.

“She’s a voice on the other end of the line, and until you put a face to the voice you never really know who you are talking to,” Spychalski said. “So it was a great feeling, I gave her a big hug as soon as I saw her.”

For dispatcher Lori Zaumseil the feeling was mutual. It’s extremely rare for her to meet emergency callers in person, she said, but she particularly wanted to meet Spychalski.

“He was the one I was waiting to meet because I really feel like he was the pivot this whole thing turned on,” Zaumseil said. “This really made my holiday season because he’s a great guy and he’s the one who went way above and beyond.”

The “Survivor Recognition Ceremony” was organized by the Anchorage Fire Department to give credit to all who played  a part in saving Thomspon’s life. Doctors said he would have died had his friend not started CPR and kept him stable until medics arrived.

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