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Westport EMS Honored for Saving Boy's Life

WESTPORT, Conn. – When members of Westport's Emergency Medical Service save a life, they don't expect anything in return. But recently, the organization received a plaque and a check as a 'thank you' for saving 14-year-old Westport student Harrison Malec's life.

Harrison, a rower at Saugatuck Rowing Club, went out for a run on Sept. 14 with a group of teammates when he collapsed. One of Harrison's teammates realized he wasn't breathing and began CPR. At the same time, Harrison's coach, Sharon Kriz, called 911.

Within minutes, Westport EMS arrived and applied a cardiac monitor, which identified a fatal heart rhythm abnormality. Paramedics defibrillated Harrison's heart back into a normal rhythm and he regained a pulse and started breathing.

Harrison was taken to the hospital, where follow-up tests showed he had a previously undiagnosed and extremely rare cardiac abnormality. He received open-heart surgery and returned to school six weeks later.

Harrison's mom, Joelle, works as a realtor at the Westport office of William Raveis Realty. Recently, the office held a fundraiser on behalf of Westport EMS and presented the group with a check and a plaque.

"In 30-plus years as a paramedic, I can count on two hands the number of cardiac arrest patients I've treated who were able to walk out of the hospital and lead fully productive lives, and this is the first time one of them has come back in person to thank us," Westport EMS Coordinator Marc Hartog said in a statement.

"I can't begin to tell you how gratifying it is to see Harrison standing here in front of us, looking as well as he does, and know that through our efforts he will be moving forward, leading what we all hope will be a long and fulfilling life."

Photo identification, left to right: Sharon Kriz, juniors head coach at Saugatuck Rowing Club; Mark Malec, Harrison Malec; Joelle Malec, realtor at Raveis; EMS Crew Chief Mark Blake; WVEMS President Martin Iselin; EMS Coordinator Marc Hartog; Beverly Walsh, vice president of sales at Raveis' Westport office; and Leslie Smith Clarke, realtor at Raveis.

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