Samuel Emigh and his friend Ed Updyke were driving home through Port Matilda just after 6 p.m. on Aug. 29, 2013.
Then they saw a Chevrolet Trailblazer driven by Robert B. Meyer, 78, Spruce Creek, who had suffered an apparent medical emergency, strike the gas sign at Lykens Market at the intersection of East Plank Road and North High Street.
State Trooper Richard Hoover of the Philipsburg barracks just happened to be on the scene pumping gas when the crash occurred.
Courtesy photo / Members of the Pennsylvania State Police (from left to right) Patrol Cpl. Derek Pacella, Philipsburg Station Cmdr. Sgt. John Mararik, Trooper Richard Hoover and Crime Cpl. Bradley Stauffer recently presented Samuel Emigh of Tyrone with the Meritorious Citizenship Award.
"I ran over and tried to check on the guy. He was unconscious. I checked for breathing and a pulse. He wasn't breathing. I took his seat belt off and tried to drag him out of the vehicle. No one else came forward, but Emigh came up from the rear and said, 'I have some training in CPR; can I help you, trooper?' He assisted me in getting the victim on the ground, and with a couple of rounds of CPR. By the time we were done, the man was breathing on his own," Hoover recalled.
Emigh, 26, Tyrone, also recalled the event.
"We laid him down and checked for vitals. He (Hoover) started chest compressions, and I did the breathing. After a few sets, he gasped for air and started breathing on his own," Emigh said.
"It was crazy; he came back from cardiac arrest. It is not too often you can bring someone back by using CPR. We made him comfortable and talked to him until the EMS arrived," Emigh said.
For his efforts, Emigh recently received the Meritorious Citizenship Award from the state police. The award is given to an individual or organization that assists the department in providing a significant service to the commonwealth, said Trooper Adam Reed, state police spokesman.
The award isn't given out very often. The last time was in 2009 to two citizens in eastern Pennsylvania in relation to a murder investigation. The people found the murder weapon and turned it in, Reed said.
Hoover called Emigh a hero for his efforts.
"He stepped up far above what the average person would have. I doubt if the man would still be alive if he hadn't assisted me with the CPR," Hoover said.
Emigh, however, doesn't consider himself a hero.
"In my opinion, I am not. I did what was expected. In my opinion, it was what I should do. I felt pretty relieved. The goal was to get him breathing," Emigh said. "If I were in a wreck, I would hope someone would stop to see if I am OK. He was a fellow human being. I felt it was the right thing to do."
Meyer, now 79, was pleased to learn that Emigh had received the award.
"I really am fortunate he was the man who was following me. I think it is wonderful. He is a good Samaritan; that is what we should all strive for. I am just grateful to be alive," Meyer said.
Emigh's mother, Uta, also is pleased.
"It makes me proud beyond words that my son has received such an honor," Uta Emigh said.
Emigh, who at one time held an LPN license and had studied CPR at both the Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center and in the U.S. Air Force, was surprised to receive the award.
"I was flabbergasted. I wasn't expecting it. When I heard the guy pulled through, I thought that was the end of it," Emigh said. "It made me feel amazing. It gives you a pretty good high, but you have to keep your feet planted."
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.