What began as a meeting to discuss bylaw issues turned into an opportunity to thank the people who saved his life for View Royal resident JC Scott.
Scott was walking home near Victoria General Hospital at about 8 p.m. on Dec. 20 when he was struck down by a heart attack on Watkiss Way. Although what happened right after that remains a mystery to Scott, he found out later that an off-duty Saanich police officer who happened to be nearby called 911 and began performing CPR. View Royal Fire Rescue arrived within minutes and took over from there, Scott learned.
“They stayed with me for four hours until I went into the Royal Jubilee,” said Scott, who underwent angioplasty and had three stents installed a week later. “I was disappointed because I never got the name of the Saanich officer or the firefighters who assisted me … I really wanted to thank them personally.”
The opportunity to do exactly that arose unexpectedly on Jan. 19, when Scott and his partner, Anita, met with View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst and bylaw enforcement officer Enzo Calla, also a volunteer firefighter.
Before discussing their concerns the couple thanked Hurst for his past heroics rescuing a child from a fire, and said Scott had recently been saved by a View Royal firefighter hero as well.
“Paul looked at (Calla) and said ‘he’s the guy you saved on Dec. 20,’” said Scott. “Everyone just looked around the room and started to laugh. Then I asked if it was possible to meet the rest of the people who were on that team as well.”
Calla said they would all be there the next evening for training, and the couple jumped at the chance to say thank you in person.
Coincidentally, Scott, a commercial and residential designer, had already scheduled a meeting that morning with View Royal Mayor David Screech to discuss a design-related matter at the mayor’s business, Gregg’s Furniture and Upholstery.
“David showed up to thank the firefighters as well,” Scott said. “It was very emotional, a very powerful meeting,” said Scott. “They saved my life.”
Calla, a volunteer firefighter for the past 25 years, including the past 10 at View Royal, said it’s an incredible feeling when people take the time to say thank you.
“Because we’re often first on the scene, you don’t get a lot of closure once the paramedics take people to the hospital,” he said. “It’s nice to know we made a difference.”
Calla credited the efforts of everyone involved as helping produce a good result, including the off-duty police officer, the paramedics, his fellow View Royal Fire Rescue volunteers and the staff who took over once Scott arrived at the hospital.
It was fortunate there was a full crew at the hall that night as well, said Calla, who was the officer in charge that evening and responded from his home.
“When you’re in that situation, instinct and training kick in,” he said. “The stars were aligned that night; it was a total team effort.”