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Reunion of Ex-Firefighter with Life-Saving 911 Operator: A Divine Encounter

Amanda Garr frequently receives 911 calls from distressed Chicago residents without knowing the outcome, but a recent encounter with George Ma’Ayteh, a retired firefighter whose life she helped save, brought a heartwarming conclusion.

As a city fire communications operator, Garr responded to a call last autumn regarding an unconscious adult male with irregular breathing. Acting swiftly, she alerted dispatch for an ambulance while calmly guiding the caller through CPR instructions for Ma’Ayteh.

Upon meeting Ma’Ayteh for the first time on Wednesday, Garr reassured him, saying, “God has a plan for you,” reflecting on the critical role she played in his rescue.

Ma’Ayteh, drawing from his 30 years of experience as a Chicago firefighter, emphasized the significance of CPR in life-saving situations, acknowledging the uncertainty of such interventions but attributing their success to a higher power.

Reflecting on the life-saving event, Garr, 29, attributed her quick thinking to her training and passion for her role at the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. She expressed her dedication to aiding those in need, recognizing that individuals dial 911 during challenging moments, aiming to provide support and assistance.

During the incident on October 21, 2023, Garr guided Paula Anast, a close friend of Ma’Ayteh, through the CPR process, highlighting Anast’s composure and ability to follow instructions effectively in the high-pressure situation.

Garr commended the collaborative effort between her, Anast, and others involved, underscoring the importance of teamwork in emergency response scenarios.

In a touching twist of fate, it was revealed that Garr comes from a long line of public servants dedicated to serving the community, with her family’s legacy spanning four generations in various roles within the fire department and emergency services.

Her father, 14th Battalion Chief Barry Garr, who attended the event, expressed immense pride in his daughter’s actions, foreseeing a bright future filled with similar commendable deeds.

Acknowledging the critical nature of immediate intervention during emergencies, Battalion Chief Barry Garr emphasized the positive impact individuals can have by stepping in to assist others in distress, as exemplified by the successful outcome in Ma’Ayteh’s case.

Ma’Ayteh, who underwent medical procedures following the cardiac arrest incident, including the implantation of a pacemaker, is currently undergoing rehabilitation and recovering well, expressing gratitude for the timely assistance he received.

The heartwarming reunion and shared experience of survival were commemorated during a news conference where Amanda Garr, George Ma’Ayteh, Paula Anast, and Chief Barry Garr stood together, embodying the spirit of resilience and community support in the face of adversity.