Lifeguards honored for saving woman’s life

HAZELWOOD, MO – What started out as a hot summer day, almost turned tragic for Martha Timblim.

The woman says she brought her grandson to the Hazelwood Aquatic Center for lessons.

While she sat on one of the lounge chair – waiting…“I was texting my friend, who is here visiting from Connecticut what my part time job hours so she can arrange us to get together and that’s all I remember.”

That’s when Travis Vancil says he and seven other lifeguards were told a woman was unconscious.

Vancil says his team survival mode kicked into gear.

“A person was laying over the edge of a chair, so she called a couple of the swim instructors up,” Vancil said. “They got her on the ground, while others were coming to get crash bags. They ran in to get me, they were in the office and we came out with an AED, our trauma bag and we got over her and it was no pulse no breathing and we started CPR at that point. “

Timblim was taken to an area hospital where she went into cardiac arrest again, before regaining consciousness.

Once Timblim found out what happened, she couldn’t believe it.

“It was absolutely unbelievable,” she said. “I missed all the drama, totally. I was fine up until the point that I lost consciousness and when I regain awareness I was just fine then. I missed the whole shebang.”

Now, Vancil and the seven other lifeguards are being recognized for their heroic actions.

They received a standing ovation in Wednesday’s Hazelwood City Council meeting.

“I don’t think any of them, at least from what I could tell was freaked out,” Vancil said. “That adrenaline kicked in and they did exactly what they were supposed to do!”

“There actually are no words for me to say ‘Thank you for saving my life!’,” Timblim said. “It just sounds so incredibly understated and so I’m grateful that the city acknowledged it!”

The doctor from the hospital Timblim went to was also at that ceremony. He commended those lifeguards on their quick thinking during an intense moment.