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Heroes out of the woodwork

To the editor:

Whom do you consider a hero?

Is it an actor’s portrayal on a cartoon you watched as a child? A member of the military, who protects this country? A firefighter who runs into a burning building, when everyone else is rushing out? A medical professional who saves the lives of people he or she doesn’t know?

Or is the hero an unknown face in the crowd who helps someone in need, simply because it feels like the right thing to do?

Last week, I found out that there are many of those people I would consider heroes right here in Suffolk, and they were in the most unlikely place: the parking lot in front of Big Lots.

Last week, my husband and I were finishing our first stop in what was supposed to be a day filled with errands. Having finished in the store, we had stopped to speak with a friend who happened to be in the parking lot.

In the middle of a sentence, I happened to glance at my husband and knew immediately that something was terribly wrong. He was sweating, his color was not right and before I could ask if he was OK, he had fallen to the ground unconscious.

This happened so quickly. It felt as though one minute my world was fine, and before I took my next breath my world had shattered. I could not think; I did not know what to do.

What I did not realize was that God had already taken it out of my hands.

As I looked up, I saw several people running across the parking lot and out of stores to help me. Offers of help in the form of cold water, towels and prayers were given to us by so many people. I only wish I had been able to get the names of the people who were there, so I could thank them personally.

There was one lady in particular who came from the pawn shop in the shopping center. Her actions and help were very reassuring. She stayed with my husband until the paramedics arrived, and her competent manner helped ease my fears.

When the rescue squad and fire department arrived, they were able to medically treat him. As he left to go to the emergency room, he was alert and answering their questions. Even though I was still concerned, I felt relieved knowing he was in the hands of those caring professionals.

At Sentara Obici Hospital, he received excellent care from everyone. The doctors, nurses, technicians and support staff treated his medical condition and worked diligently to reassure his spirit. They were able to diagnose the problem as a heart condition. He had a pacemaker implanted and is doing well.

Hero, good Samaritan and guardian angel are all descriptive titles that fit the people who helped us that day. They did so without thought of recognition or reward, and I offer freely and humbly the only thing I have to give — my appreciation.

Thank you all.

Carolyn Antis

Suffolk