A local nonprofit teamed up with Bend firefighters on Monday to stress the importance of life-saving training and technology -- and their message was driven home by a long-time volunteer whose life was saved by that crucial combination just last month.
Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center, which teaches people with special needs to learn to ride horses, held a news conference on Monday reminding businesses and organizations that keeping Automatic External Defibrillators, or AEDs can be life-saving in medical emergencies.
And that's exactly what happened at Healing Reins in January.
Longtime volunteer Bill Butner suffered a heart attack just outside the arena, and was saved thanks to speedy volunteers and staff who performed CPR and applied the AED.
Healing Reins, like many organizations, isn't required by law to keep an AED, but Executive Director Dita Keith said keeping staff, volunteers and participants safe is the group's first priority. She said the organization is proud to be honored by the Bend Fire Department, and grateful Butner is okay.
First-responder, firefighter and paramedic Luke Stott told NewsChannel 21 that it took about eight minutes for them to respond to the call. He said Butner would've likely died if there hadn't been an AED on site.
Butner spoke at the event, expressing his gratitude to the people who saved his life.
He told NewsChannel 21 that he hopes his story will inspire other businesses and organizations to invest in AEDs and CPR training.
"If there's anything we can do to help them get one, as far as suggestions, or maybe getting somebody to donate one to an organization would be great," Butner said. "There's no doubt in my mind that it saved my life. If it hadn't been here, I probably wouldn't be standing here and talking to you."
Stott said Oregon law requires larger businesses to have AEDs, but he wants every business or organization to consider purchasing one.
"Even though they're fairly expensive, look at having an AED available for use, because they could have a similar circumstance, where they could have a very positive effect on someone's life, Stott said.
Bend Fire EMS Program Manager Tom Wright said Healing Reins is a "shining example for all area businesses."
Stott said AEDs cost between $1,000 and $2,000, and must be paired with CPR to be effective.
Butner says he is doing much better, and returned to volunteering at Healing Reins just two weeks after his heart attack.