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People Taking Action: Woman helps to save co-worker having heart attack in Newport News

Posted at 8:19 PM, Aug 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-04 22:27:34-04

Newport News, Va. - NewsChannel 3 shines the spotlight on Kathryn Dowden, whose quick actions saved a co-worker's life.

She goes by "Kat." We were invited to surprise her at the Red Lobster where she works on Jefferson Avenue in Newport News.

Once inside, we told her we had been hearing good things about her from her co-workers, like Blaire Washington

"I was wondering how to apply someone for the People Taking Action award," asked Washington.

Avery Dowden, Kat's husband who works at the restaurant as well, also sent in an email about Kat's action.

"She was told by the paramedics that if not for her quick thinking, the 69-year-old fellow co-worker would not have survived," says Avery Dowden.

It happened about two weeks ago. Ashley Motley is the restaurant's general manager.

"I heard a lot of commotion. I heard, 'Are you OK are you OK? Get up, get up.' It's very scary. It really was a very scary situation," says Motley.

When Avery Dowden heard what was happening, he called 911.

"Then I went back here to do whatever I could do to help, which was basically to get everyone to back away so she could do what she was doing, and the other young lady was holding a towel to his face because he landed on his chin and busted his chin open," says Dowden.

But he's alive thanks to Kat, which is why we presented her with a Newschannel 3 People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.

Kat believes divine intervention played a big role.

"That day I wasn't supposed to work. I was asked to work that day to cover for someone, so, you know... it's got be from a higher power that put me in that place at that time," says Kat.

She credits training that kicked in from her days as a volunteer  EMT-firefighter, but that was 15 years ago. She says it's training you don't forget.

Kat says she had to repeatedly perform CPR, chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation because this co-worked lost a pulse and stopped breathing three times.

She was able to keep reviving him until paramedics arrived.