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Fire Department purchases life-saving machine with help from local family
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- A local fire department has purchased the latest equipment to help treat patients suffering from a heart attack. Paramedics with the Upper Yoder Township Fire Department told 6 News they've been able to save a few lives with the machine already. But it's the story behind the machine that makes it even more special.
Sam Zamias was a well known real estate agent in Johnstown when he passed away a few months ago after suffering a heart attack. Zamias' family said it was so grateful for the help he received from paramedics that they wanted to give back.
It was Sunday, Sept. 8. The Zamias family had just finished dinner when Sam came down with what he thought was a stomachache.
"I gave him a Pepto Bismol and he walked out into the kitchen and he came back to the room and collapsed in a chair," said Zamias' wife, Kathy.
It turned out he was having a heart attack.
"When we arrived, CPR had been in progress and we continued with that through transport to Conemaugh hospital," said Pete Long EMS coordinator for the Upper Yoder Township Fire Department.
"They did everything they could do. They were phenomenal. If it was God's will, he would have lived from what they did. I was blown away," said Kathy. "I found out they're volunteers and they were there the whole time."
Thankful for that help, instead of flowers at Zamias' funeral, his wife asked all donations be sent to the department enabling them to purchase a new piece of equipment that will help better detect heart attacks in the field.
"We were in the phases of attaining the funds to make this upgrade but with the gracious of the Zamis family, we put those donations to this and helped this purchase happen," said Long.
On Thursday the department honored Zamias by placing a plaque on the machine in his honor.
"Even though he didn't live, I'm so thankful that he tried," said Zamias.
When asked if her husband would be happy to know what she's done to help, she said he would probably take courses himself to become a volunteer. She said he would have probably even bought them an extra ambulance.
Zamias said she hopes she never has to call again for help, but if she does, she said she's glad to have such experienced and caring paramedics at the ready. She urges everyone to donate to their local departments.