Christofer Hatcu was finishing his shift as a Piedmont Airlines ramp unit manager on Jan. 22 when he noticed a passenger on the ground. Hatcu, a former volunteer firefighter, began CPR on the passenger, later identified as Paul Gonnelli.
A few minutes after resuscitating Gonnelli, paramedics became aware of another passenger who had collapsed in the terminal. They asked Hatcu to help them in that emergency, and he did.
“I didn't believe it,” Hatchu said. “They said, ‘We have another heart attack 10 gates down.’”
Paramedics said neither passenger would have survived without Hatcu’s help.
Gonnelli nominated Hatcu for the Real American Hero award.
"I suffered a massive heart attack at the gate and was on the ground unresponsive. Chris immediately went into action performing CPR and continued until an airport rescue crew arrived,” Gonnelli wrote. “Chris saved my life, and I would not be writing this if it were not for him."
Hatchu was grateful for the award, but said seeing Gonnelli doing well was the biggest reward.
“It's a great feeling,” Hatchu said. “It's a great feeling.”