A man having a medical emergency this spring drove to a fire station, laid on his horn and fell unconscious before he could see the firefighters who rushed to help him.
On Tuesday, the grateful patient got the chance to thank the firefighters and paramedics who saved his life.
"I'm a walking miracle, thanks to you all and the man upstairs," Keith Brock said, fighting tears at a ceremony inside Engine 24 on Georgia Avenue in Northwest D.C.
Brock, 39, cannot remember the morning of May 31. But D.C. Fire and EMS Capt. Ed Kauffman remembers.
"Mr. Brock drove onto the front ramp of the fire house and alerted us. He was actively beeping the horn," Kauffman said.
Brock had no pulse. But a crew was able to bring him back to life.
"Good to see you under better circumstances," Kauffman said as he and Brock shook hands and grinned.
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"Y'all do a lot and y'all brought me through a lot, and I really appreciate it," Brock said with his girlfriend and family standing nearby.
"It's what we do," Kauffman replied.
Brock thanked the firefighters and medics one by one. He said he will never forget the kindness of strangers who acted quickly so he could survive.
"I can't say thank you enough, and I wish there was some way I could repay you all for doing such a wonderful job," he said.
Doctors found that the D.C. resident had walking pneumonia and a blood infection. He was hospitalized for weeks but now is recovered. The experience changed his life.
"I have a whole different outlook on life now," Brock said. "You learn to appreciate a lot of things more. You don't take life for granted, because it can be gone in the blink of an eye."