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Veterans save life at Rock Hill American Legion post

The American Legion Frank Roach Post 34 has opened their new building at 524 Heckle Blvd. in Rock Hill.
The American Legion Frank Roach Post 34 has opened their new building at 524 Heckle Blvd. in Rock Hill. RockHill

Three Rock Hill veterans – including a karaoke-singing doctor – dashed to help a fellow vet who had stopped breathing Wednesday night at Rock Hill’s American Legion post.

The veteran in the club room at the new Frank Roach Post 34 on Heckle Boulevard was in distress, but the three veterans leaped from their seats and stools to help before EMTs arrived to take over.

Tom Ayers, a former Marine Corps infantryman, noticed the man needed help. Isaac “Ike” Miller, a former Army medic who now works in a hospital catheter lab in Charlotte, ran over along with Robert “Doc” Sweet, a former Marine corpsman, now a surgeon holding the karaoke microphone.

Miller said the man’s skin was clammy and cold to the touch, he had stopped breathing and they could find no pulse. Miller applied rhythmic chest compressions. Sweet administered what is called a “precordial thump” – a two-handed blow to the chest designed to restart the heart.

“We just did what had to be done,” Miller said. “It wasn’t a question of doing it.”

Sweet, an oral and plastic surgeon, said Ayers and Miller were right there with him, helping immediately.

“I am glad that we were there,” Sweet said, “with the right training and knowledge, and were able to make a difference.”

Post Commander Craig Charlton, who watched the three veterans “heroically” take action, said the men exemplified the American Legion motto: “Veterans helping veterans.”

The incident, not the first over the years, shows the need for an automated external defibrillator at the post, both Charlton and Sweet said.

And the karaoke song that was interrupted?

“‘Massachusetts,’” Sweet said, “by the Bee Gees.”

Andrew Dys •  803-329-4065

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