WASHINGTON — Election was rough day for a life-long D.C. resident 75-year-old Charles Gordon. While waiting to vote at Barnard elementary School, he almost died.
"Mr. Gordon collapsed as he was getting ready to vote." said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Luckily, three take-charge women were nearby and jumped into action, saving his life. Carmella Gonzalez, with baby Creuz in her arms, was closest, and first to help.
"I thought he tripped...so I was like,' oh, sir, do you need help?' And I didn't get a response. So I bent down and said, 'sir, do you need help?' And I felt for a pulse and my mom's like, 'give me the baby.' And that's when I started the chest compressions," said Carmella.
Ally Bobeck ran to get the AED defibrillator then took over the chest compressions when Carmella got tired.
"I was just running through my mind the training that I had gotten, so, I was thinking I remember these four things. I remember the pace and I remembered we also had Jenee counting with us, making sure we were doing everything right. I felt nervous, but I also felt supported by the other people around me making sure everything was going well," said Bobeck.
On Jenny Reed's phone was 911-call taker Jenee Wood.
"The fact that they were able to follow directions, that were given, that fact that they did everything I asked them to do calming and respectfully is what actually saved his life," said Jenee.
"People around me were counting and praying and all those things and all I could hear was the dispatcher, he took a big breath and I said, 'oh my God, I must've did something right,'" said Carmella.
The dispatcher told them where to find the AED, they hooked it up and shocked him.
Carmella explained, "By that time the EMS came in so that's how I knew I did what I was supposed to do in the right time in the right moment."
When Mr. Gordon finally came to, he was in the ambulance. The first words out of his mouth, "Can I vote?"
"Then I asked for my ballot. My voting ballot," said Mr. Gordon.
He said he's voted in every election he could--it's that important to him.
What does he think of the women who saved his life? "Beautiful, thanks for everything they done. I appreciate it," he said.
D.C. Officials presented the heroes with "Lifesaving Bystander Awards." Carmella couldn't stop smiling.
"I had my son in March, and so beside my son, this is the next best thing that happened to me," she said.
It's the definitely right up there for Mr. Gordon who spent years working as a custodian at Barnard elementary School where hero bystanders saved his life.
D.C. officials say more than 50,000 residents have been trained in the new hands-only CPR. They say cardiac survival rates in D.C. are about 20 percent higher than that national average.