Blount Co. first responders reunite with man a year after they saved his life

The 2023 Smokey Mountain Senior Softball Tournament brought together a man and the first responders who saved him.
Blount County first responders reunited with man they saved a year later
Published: Jun. 10, 2023 at 12:02 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - It was an emotional reunion for everyone, a Michigan man named John Morin, got the chance to say thank you to the Blount County first responders who saved his life almost exactly a year ago.

It was a normal day on June 3, for the PRS 55 and over senior softball team, competing in the 2022 Great Smoky Mountain Senior Classic in Blount County. When their left fielder called for a timeout and immediately fell to the ground because his heart stopped.

Tim Wallace is the assistant coach who remembers the day all too well.

“John was laying on the ground they put an AED on him and they had to shock him three times and he still had no pulse as he pulled away and we thought we lost him,” said Wallace.

Morin, better known by his teammates as “Chicken,” said he was feeling fine all day long and then in one moment on the field everything changed. He said he blacked out and doesn’t remember any of it.

“Nothing they said, I was gone so I don’t know but all I go with is what they told me happened from there on until I woke up in the back of an ambulance,” said Morin.

The moment Morin collapsed, his team and the opponents they were playing from Iowa, stopped everything to get to him and begin CPR chest compressions and mouth to mouth. For 10 minutes they did everything they could until the first responders got there. Or to Morin, his heroes.

“So we shocked his heart a couple of times gave him a little bit of medicine and were actually able to get him back into a regular heart rhythm before we got him to the hospital,” said Melinda Wilson, the Critical Care Paramedic that was one of the responders.

Morin underwent a successful bypass surgery at The University of Tennessee’s Medical Center. He said he may not remember a lot from that day but he could not forget the people who saved his life.

“To me I think about it and thank god everyday. I have a lot of heroes and it’s not just the people who saved me, it’s all the people who had to experience it. I know driving up there yesterday it brought tears to my eyes it was crazy,” said Morin.

Now more than one year later, Morin was back where it all began, finally able to reunite with the men and women who are the reason he is here today. One person in particular, was Wilson, the paramedic who started his heart. She said she will always remember that special moment.

“We don’t get to see this with patients a lot and this connection will always be special to me and I think I’ll always remain in contact with John,” said Wilson.

Morin presented the first responders including officer Jamerson, officer Adam Cook, officer Chris Buchanan, paramedics Melinda Wilson and Janet Sparks, and firefighter Brian Watson, with a plaque for saving his life. He said he will always remain close to them and will continue playing softball.