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7’s HERO: Eagle teenager meets the man who saved his life with CPR

Travis Johnston went into cardiac arrest at the gym, and Gabriel Hernandez kept his heart beating until first responders arrived.

EAGLE, Idaho —

In October, Travis Johnston, a 17-year-old Eagle High School student, collapsed at Crunch Fitness. His heart stopped, and he went into cardiac arrest. 

Gabriel Hernandez, one of the staff members at Crunch, saw Johnston and jumped into action. He began giving him CPR, keeping Johnston alive until emergency crews arrived.

"It's been an emotional month. I'm not going to lie, the trauma is real," Hernandez said. "I look at first responders in a whole new way. They are the true heroes, they do this day in and day out."

This week, Johnston met with the local first responders in Eagle. He took the time to hug everyone who was involved in rescuing him that day at the gym. 

"I'm doing a lot better,” Johnston said. “It's all crazy to me, I don't remember a lot of it. Now, I've got all these people that saved my life. So, thank you, guys." 

“The best result is seeing you standing here.” Said Eagle Fire Battalion Chief Rob Shoplock. “This is the best part of our job, seeing you and getting to talk to you, and knowing you are well." 

Next, Hernandez walked into the room and received a rousing round of applause from everyone and a hug from Johnston. 

"I'm just glad you are here tonight, I prayed for you to be here," Hernandez told Johnston. “You actually stopped breathing on me twice, and I got you back twice and these guys got you back for the third time. It was scary man, very scary. I'm just glad everything worked out.” 

The first responders from Eagle Fire and Ada County Paramedics said Hernandez is a true hero.  

"The percentage of people who survive cardiac arrest is incredibly small. It's rare that we get to do this, and we owe it to you," Ada County Paramedic Tanner Busacker said to Hernandez. "Because your role in this, providing the early compressions, is singlehandedly the number one thing that turned Travis' story around. You are absolutely incredible." 

Hernandez was presented with a certificate of commendation from the paramedics and an honorary t-shirt from the Eagle Fire Department.   

Johnston and his parents said thanking Hernandez and the first responders will never be enough. 

"I just want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for saving my son's life," Johnston’s father said. 

Coincidently, Hernandez had just taken a CPR class about a week prior to Johnston’s incident at the gym. He is grateful he was prepared. 

“Words can't express how honored I feel right now, it's a beautiful feeling and it's a beautiful moment," Hernandez said. 

Johnston is getting stronger by the day. He still has a long road, but he's back in school and celebrating life. His doctors are still working to determine what caused his heart to stop.

First responders want to stress how important it is to be trained in first aid and CPR, stating this story proves how lifesaving it is.

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