Three high school students were only too glad they were able to help out a woman who collapsed near their school but please don't use the "H" word.
Dominik Beulens-Davis winces at the term hero but it's a word that comes to mind after a March 5 incident outside the Aldergrove Kinsmen Community Centre.
Tavis Allen added "I'd take it as a compliment but I don't feel that I'm necessarily a hero."
Dominik, a Grade 10 student along with friends Tavis and Renato Palmieri, both in Grade 12, didn't hesitate to help out in an emergency.
Tavis and Dominik were sitting on a bench outside the community centre when the lunchtime bell rang at Aldergrove Community Secondary, right next door.
"The bell went and we started walking towards the school and we heard a thump," Dominik said.
They turned to see a woman sprawled out on the ground a few metres away and a staff member burst out of the community centre. The woman, who appeared to be in her 60s had collapsed and hit her head, bleeding slightly.
The staffer tried doing light CPR while also wielding a phone to call for help. Dominik and Tavis stepped up.
"I held her head, doing C-spine [stabilizing the head and neck] and then took over doing CPR," Dominik said.
Tavis took over doing C-spine.
"After you realize what's going on, instinct kicks in,"
Dominik said. "Everything else was kind of a blur."
Tavis said he was focused on the woman's condition.
"I was just thinking what's going on, what could have caused this, is she okay and why wasn't she breathing," Tavis said.
As the drama was unfolding, Renato looked out the school window and saw his friends.
He went outside, arriving at about the same time as the first responders who were able to take over care. The woman started to come around.
Emergency help arrived within minutes but it felt like time stood still.
"I swear it felt like an hour," Dominik said.
The first responders searched the woman's pockets for ID. They
found a dog leash. The high school students could see a nearby sheepdog that was becoming agitated and tried to catch it to keep it from running into traffic.
"We chased it all the way down to 24th Avenue [from 29th Avenue]," Renato said.
Dominik said he was worried because Renato has recently healed up from a broken foot.
"I saw him jumping over things and running after the dog," he said.
Unable to keep up with the dog on foot, they described it to a person from the Langley Animal Protection Society who took over the task.
It appears the dog was trying to make its way home as the boys later found out that a friend of the woman who collapsed caught the dog a few blocks from her home.
The boys arrived back at school, well after the bell. Two were late for class but they kind of had a good reason.
"The principals didn't know what to do," Dominik chuckled.
Due to confidentiality issues they haven't been able to find out much about the woman. Tavis said he's heard informally that she is in hospital and recovering but doesn't know who her identity.
Tavis said he'd be open to meeting her if it's what she wants.
For Renato, who wants to become a welder after high school, the incident was a good lesson in the value of first aid and CPR training.
"I'm thinking it's a good thing to have," he said. "I'll probably go for it."
Tavis' emergency training came through cadets. He's with 169 Columbia Sea Cadets and has had to in a couple of occasions use his first aid training with kids when teaching sail instruction.
He noted that paramedics, police and firefighters do these sorts of things everyday.
"I'm just glad I was able to help," he said.
Dominik only took a CPR course with his mom in September and said his plans, before the incident, were to become a paramedic.
"It's one of those things that you want the training but you don't want to have to use it," Dominik said.
As for the "H" word? Dominik doesn't think hero applies here. They just wanted to help out how they could.
"If somebody else was in my situation with the training, I would hope they would do that, not just sit there and watch," Dominik said.