Drew Overlee hugging good Samaritan Jake O’Brien after thanking him for performing lifesaving CPR.

Drew Overlee, 64, is grateful to be alive due to the efforts of a good Samaritan, first responders and the cardiac care team at HCA Florida Brandon Hospital.

On May 24, five months after suffering a heart attack while running, Overlee met the good Samaritan who performed CPR to save his life. Community members gathered for the reunion, which took place outside of the ambulance entry of Brandon Hospital.

Overlee was running along Bloomingdale Avenue on December 22, 2023, when he dropped to the ground and went into cardiac arrest. Bystanders at a local business saw him collapse and united to help. Overlee had stopped breathing and had no pulse. 911 was called and Jake O’Brien, 27, began CPR. O’Brien had learned CPR in a college class a few years prior. He performed chest compressions until first responders arrived.

Paramedic Lt. Tobi Porter was close by with an ambulance and took over lifesaving efforts. Captain Brandon Yates and firefighters from Engine 7 arrived on-site shortly thereafter.

Overlee arrived at Brandon Hospital unconscious and as a John Doe. His identity was not known until he was fingerprinted. Just a few days after his heart attack, he celebrated his 64th birthday at the hospital with Yates and Porter.

At the May reunion, O’Brien and Porter were recognized for their heroic efforts. Porter received a surprise honor from Brandon Hospital as the first recipient of the newly created Lifesaver’s Award.

“I am so grateful to everyone who helped save my life, but especially Jake, who was the first to respond,” Overlee said.

In a medical emergency, immediate CPR can make a critical difference in survival.

“It took six minutes for fire rescue to arrive on scene. So that means that Jake did CPR on Drew for six minutes,” Porter said. “When you start CPR, it allows us the minutes we need to arrive in time and to continue that lifesaving measure.”

O’Brien said it is incredible to see Overlee energetic and doing so much better.

“The result of the situation is happy. I want more people to learn CPR. I was at the right place at the right time, and I had the right knowledge. I knew how to help,” O’Brien said.

The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association (AHA) are two of the most well-known organizations that provide CPR and first-aid certification. For more information, visit www.redcross.org/local/florida/take-a-class/cpr and www.heart.org/en/affiliates/florida. HCA Florida Brandon Hospital is located at 119 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon.

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