Trio honored for life-saving efforts

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 6:16 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Three people earned honors for being in the right place at the right time - with the right skills - to save a woman’s life.

Rachel Frehe, Sherie Willis, and Anthony Granado were honored as “Champions of Character” during Wednesday’s Safe Streets Coalition meeting.

The trio was working out at Sunflower Strength and Conditioning April 11th, when they saw Rebecca Burton collapse.

Rachel is a paramedic with the Soldier Township Fire Dept. She and Sherie, who had past CPR training, worked together on CPR while Rachel sent someone to grab medical gear she carries in her vehicle. Meantime, Anthony, who works at Stormont Vail, got an AED device ready to shock Rachel’s heart.

Sherie said she lives in a rural area and took a CPR class with her daughter, never thinking they’d actually use it.

“So many stars aligned that night to ensure Rebecca is here with us today. It wasn’t her time,” she said.

Anthony agrees he feels fortunate he was in a position to help.

“It was a great feeling definitely to bring her back and know that she’s going to be all right and keep her alive as soon as emergency responders arrived,” he said.

Rachel says the incident reinforces an important message.

“I just want people to understand the importance of bystander CPR and learning how to perform chest compressions and lifesaving measures like that,” she said. “That truly was the difference in Rebecca’s story.”

The three recently reunited with Rebecca, and she attended Wednesday’s recognition ceremony for her heroes.

“It just doesn’t seem big enough to say thank you because they saved my life,” she said.

Rebecca is fully recovered. Doctors still are unsure why her heart stopped.

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