Two Fulton families were complete strangers until two weeks ago when fate brought them together. Jen O'Neil says Fulton Police Officer Gary Percival saved her life.
"I still get emotional when I think about it because he didn't have to stop, and if it wasn't for him I probably wouldn't be here. I really appreciate everything he did," says O'Neil.
It's still hard for O'Neil to remember the day she lost consciousness. Officer Gary Percival was on duty that day when her 9-year-old son, Kiernan, found O'Neil struggling to survive. Remembering lessons learned in school, he told his neighbor to call 911.
Officer Percival was sitting in his patrol car up the road from O'Neils' home when he heard the call on the police scanner and ran over to help without hesitation. His instincts kicked in when he saw O'Neil wasn't breathing and he immediately started CPR.
"I had never had to do it. Seven and a half years on I've never actually had to perform CPR other than in training," says Percival.
O'Neil says doctors are still puzzled by her condition.
"All they can tell me is that my heart stopped. They can't even say it was a heart attack. They can't find anything wrong," says O'Neil.
First responders say those first few critical minutes make all the difference. Officer Percival says he just doing his job and credits O'Neils' son with saving her life.
"He was the clear thinker that day. He was upset and emotional but he was the clear thinker that day," says Percival.
"They keep saying I'm a hero and I say no," says O'Neils' son Kiernan.
With a crisis averted and a new friendship forged
forever linked by fate, now with a new perspective on life.
"They've been introduced to my family now and we'll absolutely stay in touch but I hope I never have to do something like this again," says Percival.