COLORADO SPRINGS — On Friday, Eagleview Middle School celebrated two seventh graders and a teacher.

“These three individuals took action and that action saved a life and we’re here to recognize that,” said Carrick Patterson, Colorado Springs Fire Department Battalion Chief.

In September 2021, Dean Thurston, a coach and science teacher was letting students onto the track just before Cross Country practice, when suddenly he collapsed of a heart attack known as the widow maker.

Thurston was at the top of the stairway to the track when he collapsed. Credit: Michael Duran

“I thought he was playing a joke at first, which sounds silly now but all of a sudden he was down and then I just ran up there,” said teacher and coach, Katie Breitmeyer.

Breitmeyer said she immediately called on Jack Silver and Aidan Teran for help.

“I yelled to one to go get the AED, which I’m sure he didn’t know what that even was but he ran,” Breitmeyer said.

Then, Aidan helped move Thurston onto his back so she could start the chest compressions.

“The boys were awesome under pressure considering the whole situation was really scary,” Breitmeyer said.

Thurston said he doesn’t remember the incident itself.

“I think it was three or four days later when my wife told me that I had a heart attack and people had jumped in to help out,” Thurston said.

But, he said knowing he was given a second chance at life has been eye opening.

“Most people that have the same condition, the same thing happen to them don’t make it,” Thurston said. “And so I guess you could say you’re extra grateful, extra thankful that people were around and that the district has trained our teachers in order to be able to jump into that circumstance.”

Thurston said the awards given out Friday demonstrate a good example for others to follow.

The fire battalion chief hands out awards to the teacher and students. Credit: Michael Duran

“It’s important that we recognize people who stand up and put themselves out and do the right thing.”

After just three weeks, Thurston, who has been teaching for 30 years, was able to come back and keep teaching. He said he is already planning on teaching and coaching next year as well.