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Birmingham woman given 'Heartsaver Hero' award for saving stranger's life

Published: Jun. 4, 2016 at 2:23 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 4, 2016 at 2:46 AM CDT
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Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC
Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC
Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC
Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A Birmingham woman is being honored by the American Heart Association.

She's called a hero after using CPR on a stranger who went into cardiac arrest.

Amber Kinney had just learned CPR in March with TRIO Safety and the American Heart Association in Birmingham.

In April while she and her family were on vacation in SanDestin, FL, they were sitting in a restaurant when a man in his 60's collapsed to the floor.

"He had fallen down, cracked his head and he was seizing," Amber Kinney recalled.

Kinney says she yelled for someone to call 911 and approached the man who had stopped breathing.

"People were screaming 'he's turning blue,'" Kinney said.

That's when she says pure adrenaline kicked in. She placed her hands in the center of the man's chest and started the compressions.

"With the first push, I felt ribs break and at that time panic kind of took over," Kinney explained. "In my head, I heard Brady (McLaughlin) from TRIO Safety's voice. He said 'bones are going to break, body fluids may be released, it's not going to be pretty.'"

Kinney continued the compressions and another customer in the restaurant helped for a moment.
She says after about 5 or 10 minutes when the paramedics arrived and took over, the man had a pulse and was taken away in an ambulance.

Friday afternoon, Kinney was given the "Heartsaver Hero" award by the American Heart Association.
McLaughlin was one of the presenters.

He says the award is not given lightly.

"Amber did what she was trained to do," McLaughlin said. "It was a blessing to that individual."

Kinney feels like she was blessed that day as well to actually bring someone back to life.

"I would just want to give him a great big hug and just let him know I'm just so blessed to be part of his life plan," she said.

Although she doesn't know who the man is, she learned he survived and is still living today.

Officials with the American Heart Association got in contact with the man but he wanted to remain anonymous.

Kinney is encouraging everyone to learn CPR because she says it does work.

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