Metro man determined to give police and firefighters the “thank you” they deserve

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NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. —It's their job to serve the public, but sometimes they go above and beyond their duties.

And according to one man, police and fireman often don't get the thank you they deserve, and he was determined to change that.

Paul McGarvey, 88, says North Kansas City firefighters and police saved his life, and he decided to make a point to personally thank them.

McGarvey says he doesn't remember anything about May 5th—not even playing tennis right before the car accident that nearly took his life.

"I've had a little history of lack of potassium, some of the doctors tell me I had a potassium attack, I fainted, and that caused the heart attack," McGarvey says.

Officer Duane Hostikka was the first to respond. He shook McGarvey, checked his pulse—but nothing. He initiated CPR.

"The police officer broke the seven ribs," says McGarvey as he chuckles, "and I'm sure glad he did, because I'm alive to tell about it."

"I felt so bad when he told me about it. And bless his heart, I`m just thankful he made it through," adds Officer Hostikka.

McGarvey says he's relatively healthy, and was able to bounce back fast — playing his usual tennis.

"It`s kind of given me a new appreciation for life," says McGarvey.

McGarvey asked the Mayor for five minutes to give a thank you letter in person.

"Commending he and the city for training police and fire people, ambulance people, so they could save lives like they saved mine," says McGarvey.

The Mayor invited him to a city council meeting Tuesday evening to meet the first responders and thank them himself.

"You assume that they`re getting paid to do a job, and they do a good job, but it doesn't hurt to give them a little pat on the back every once in a while," says North Kansas City Mayor Don Stielow.

"That hit our hearts," Officer Hostikka says. "It lets us know that we did something right that day."

"Firefighters work hard on a daily basis, we train, and we`re ready for these types of instances," says Captain Mark Skeens, with the North Kansas City Fire Department, who was also a first responder that day in May. "The part that`s rewarding is seeing that people are served well and they`re pleased with that service."

McGarvey says we often take things for granted, but he`s very grateful.

"I think we miss a lot in life, by not being appreciative and expressing it to one another," adds McGarvey, "Without them, I don`t know if I'd still be here."

McGarvey is doing well and continues to play tennis a couple times a week.