Amtrak conductor performs CPR on man in Glenwood Springs train station

Dale ShrullGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kara K. Pearson Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – He was just passing through.A quick stop at the Glenwood Springs train station and assistant Amtrak conductor Matt Guidry would be back on the train.The train would be a little late pulling out on this day, though.Guidry’s job duties are pretty routine. Mostly customer service. Making sure people get on and off the train, answering any questions they have and providing a friendly face.Saving lives isn’t on the list. But last Tuesday, a little before 3 p.m., the 33-year-old from Denver made it part of his job.

“A man came out of the station asking for a doctor. I asked him what was going on,” Guidry said.There were two simple facts: A man was having a heart attack, and there was no doctor in sight. Guidry went into the station and took over.Describing the scene, Guidry was so matter-of-fact, it sounded like he’d done it many times before. With an aw-shucks attitude, Guidry downplays the entire incident.”I saw him on the bench unconscious. I tried to wake him up. Then, I checked for a pulse and didn’t find one,” Guidry calmly said.The man was in his late 50s or early 60s, Guidry estimated. Guidry moved him from the bench onto the floor.About a dozen people watched with tense optimism as Guidry went to work.Time for CPR. Guidry has taken CPR classes before, and he’d just had a recent refresher course. He joined Amtrak in September, and part of the training includes CPR.

“I checked for a pulse again and then started doing compressions,” he said.About 15 chest compressions later, the man opened his eyes.”That was kind of peculiar. It was a bit of a shock, I wasn’t expecting him to open his eyes that quickly,” Guidry said.His recent CPR training really came in handy.”The training was pretty fresh in my mind. It kinda clicked, ‘I remember this,'” he said.Glenwood paramedics were quick to arrive, Guidry said, and they took over.All that was left for Guidry was to get back to work. After he received several pats on the back from his fellow crewmates, the westbound Amtrak train departed about 8 minutes behind schedule.Not bad.

Guidry said everything just kind of happened.”I didn’t really think about it, I just knew I had a job to do.”He admitted that he was a little amped for the rest of the trip. When his shift was over, he called his wife Jenna to tell her the news.”She was pretty excited.”After an overnight stay in Grand Junction, about 24 hours later, Guidry was back in Glenwood checking tickets and helping passengers.A routine day very different from the day before.Guidry said a supervisor called to say nice job. “That was nice to hear,” Guidry said.”It’s just a good feeling to help someone,” he said, again with a low-key attitude of it’s really not that big of a deal.

But it was.CPR training is mandatory for Amtrak employees because of just what happened last Tuesday.”Some of the older guys who have been working 20-30 years, they see a lot of illnesses on the train,” Guidry said.But he said he’s never heard of any of his crew stepping forward to save a man’s life before.He jokes about what kind of impact his life-saving gesture will have on his fellow Amtrak workers.”They’ll probably want me on their crew now.”Right place at the right time, and a man with the right training.Just another day on the job? Not exactly.

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