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A lifesaving action has turned three Nashville firefighters, who were vacationing with family in Florida, into local celebrities.
It was a classic case of being in the right place at the right time when the rescuers helped revive a man who had a seizure while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico at Panama City.
People like to razz Nashville fire Capt. Roy Johnson for carrying his medical bag with him wherever he goes, but that's likely to change after he used it Sunday to save a life.
Johnson, a 28-year veteran of the Nashville Fire Department, saw something was wrong from his hotel balcony.
"I looked back over as the gentleman went under, and the two boys tried to pull him up, so that's when I told my wife, 'We've got a man down,'" Johnson said. "So I took off running, went to my truck and got my medical bag. They had him almost out of the water, and we pulled him on up."
Fellow Nashville firefighters Carey Stribling and Alan Weatherly came to the rescue, too, as the man was unconscious, with no pulse and not breathing.
"We worked on him probably 10 minutes - it seemed like an hour - but it was about 10 minutes and got him back," Johnson said.
Kendrick Beck, 34, of Georgia, survived and returned to the beach Monday to hug and thank the firemen for saving his life.
But they don't want to hear the hero-talk.
"No, we're not heroes. We do it all the time, every day. We just happened to be on vacation and just happened to be here," Stribling said.
As for the ever-present medical bag, Johnson says it's there for a reason.
"Bunch of them bug me all the time about taking my medical bag, but I don't leave home with out it. Thank goodness I had it here," he said.
And, whether they like it or not, the word "hero" is making its way around the beach in Panama City. Johnson said they are getting the royal celebrity treatment wherever they go.
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