EDEN, N.Y. (WIVB) — March 16 started off as just another day for David Cole. On Tuesdays, he normally worked from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the American Legion Post 880 in Eden, and this day was no different.
“My wife was going to my son’s house who lives in Eden to help the kids with school since they were home that Tuesday morning,” he said. “I thought to myself, ‘well, I’m going to wear my squad jacket and squad hat because if there’s a squad call I can go and help.’ We did have a squad call that morning and it involved me.”
As Cole was nearing the end of his shift, his friend Kenny stopped in for something.
“He walked by me at the bar and talked to me. He came back out here to unlock the door and when he came back I was on the floor without a pulse,” Cole said.
Eden paramedic Scott Hultquist said he had just finished working the overnight shift when his wife woke him up to let him know about the call. By the time he arrived on scene, other members of the Eden Emergency Response and Rescue squad were already there.
“I’m not sure who it is yet – I haven’t been able to see the head or the face,” Hultquist said. “And then somebody said ‘it’s Dave.'”
Dave. The same man who trained Hultquist how to do his job.
That’s because Cole has been a volunteer with the Eden EMS team for 50 years. The men who he’s worked alongside saving others’ lives were now working to save his.
“All those people I have been on a zillion first aid calls over the years, and I know how good they are and I know what they can do,” he said.
And without them, Cole told News 4 he wouldn’t be here today. He was finally able to thank all of those members who responded to the call that day during a ceremony Thursday – handing each a certificate and bringing them in for an embrace.
“Yesterday I was texting Darcy and we were talking back and forth a bit about being excited to come tonight and I kind of referred to this place as coming back to the scene of the crime,” Cole told the crowd. “And Darcy said ‘no, we’re coming back to the place a miracle happened.’ And I honestly believed that’s what happened – a miracle. Someone was watching over me.”
Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.