MANCHESTER — Kriss Blevens was rushing to make a connecting flight at Philadelphia International Airport when she saw a man lying on the airport floor on Saturday night.
“I came around the corner and then all of a sudden, I saw the man face-down on the floor,” she said. “He wasn’t breathing. He was cyanotic. He was absolutely blue.”
A certified emergency medical technician, Blevens said she recognized the signs of a heart attack. Working with an automated external defibrillator and a security guard who did chest compressions, Blevens said she was able to clear the man’s airway and get him breathing again after a shock from the AED restored his pulse.
“I was praying for him as I was breathing my breath into him,” Blevens said Sunday in her Manchester home. “He couldn’t speak or move, but I knew he could hear me. His color looked good and heartbeat was back. He started to breathe on his own.”
Blevens said it was then the Philadelphia Fire Department paramedics took over. She snapped a photo with her cellphone and posted it on Facebook, along with a brief account of her evening. By late Sunday afternoon, the post had 985 “likes” and nearly 300 messages from people hailing her for her efforts.
“This was just what my spirit needed this holiday,” Blevens said.
Blevens missed her flight and was put up in a hotel for the night by her airline.
“It was an incredible feeling to go to the hotel and just lay there, thinking about the gift of life and how miraculous that education I got was,” she said.
Blevens was re-certified as an emergency medical technician a year ago this month. She and Tanner Soterion, the youngest of her three sons, enrolled together for EMT training as he pursued a job as a firefighter. Blevens was on her way home after helping Soterion relocate to Wyoming for a new job as a firefighter at F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
Blevens, CEO of Kriss Cosmetics of Manchester, is also known for her work as an addiction recovery advocate. She works as a resident instructor at the Farnum Center in Manchester.
Blevens became a bit of a celebrity in the terminal on Saturday evening. When she finally arrived at her gate after the flight had departed, she started to explain the delay. The American Airlines agent was already familiar with what had just happened at the other gate, she said.
“She said ‘Oh my God! You were involved with that rescue down the hall,’” Blevens said.
Matt Miller, a spokesman for American Airlines in Dallas, said the agent set up Blevens at the airport Marriott for the night and booked her a seat on the first flight to Manchester on Sunday morning.
“We were happy to re-accommodate her on a flight this morning and provided hotel last night and food voucher as well, given the circumstances,” Miller said. “Kudos to her for stepping up and helping someone in distress yesterday evening.”
Blevens left her contact information with airport security and was hoping to learn about what happened with the man after he was taken to the hospital.
“I know that everything in my spirit was about making sure that that man came back to life,” Blevens said. “Life is a gift and I hope that he knows his is. I was just really grateful to be a part of it. It’s very humbling.”