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'Thank you for not turning away': Strangers give CPR, save man's life at Riverton grocery store


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Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

RIVERTON — A Utah family is thanking two strangers who jumped into action in the aisles of a grocery store earlier this week and performed CPR on a man who had collapsed.

"I was cooking dinner and my brother said, 'Oh, we only have two eggs left. I'm going to run to Walmart really quick,'" said Rae Anderson.

Anderson didn't know for hours what had happened to her brother, Scott Claire, after he stopped by the Walmart Neighborhood Market on 12600 South in Riverton around 6 p.m. Tuesday.

It wasn't until the hospital called around 10 p.m. to tell her that Claire suffered ventricular tachycardia, a heart rhythm problem, and that his heart stopped. Hospital staff told her that the good Samaritans had saved her brother's life.

"The doctor said whoever did CPR knew what they were doing," Anderson said.

"I saw the man lying face down on the ground," said Colt Sirstins, one of the men who performed CPR.

Sirstins and fellow shopper Cameron Cole didn't know each other and had never had to administer CPR in a real-life situation before. They called 911, turned the 47-year-old over and started chest compressions.

"It was scary," Cole said. "To be honest, it was scary."

They continued CPR until paramedics arrived.

"We split it up, I think half and half, because it was a lot of effort trying to coordinate and listen to the operator," Cole said. "I was grateful that Colt was there because I looked up and he said, 'Let me take over,' and, 'OK,' and he started right in."

"It's just God's timing," Sirstins said. "God doesn't make mistakes and we were there at the same time together. My mind's still racing thinking about it, and I'm just so thankful that we were all there."

Claire's family said there are no words to describe their gratitude.

"Thank you for being there," Anderson said. "Thank you for caring. Thank you for not turning away. Thank for breaking his ribs. Thank you for getting his heart going again."

Anderson and other relatives posted on Facebook, trying to find the men who saved Claire. It didn't take long for them to connect and they now plan on being lifelong friends with Cole and Sirstins.

"The person that they saved is the most genuine human on the planet," Anderson said. "They do not get any better than my brother."

"That's why we are humans," Cole said. "We need to love each other. We need to be caring. We need to be kind."

"It's an incredible feeling," Sirstins said. "Being able to serve my fellow man is huge and I'm glad I was there and I'm glad Cameron was there."

When Claire comes home from the hospital, his family plans on introducing him to the men who saved his life.

"I'm just happy that he's healthy. I'm happy that he's on the road to recovery. I'm happy that he's around for his family," Cole said.

Everyone involved encouraged all Utahns to brush up on their CPR skills or take a class for the first time.

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Ladd Egan

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