PORTLAND, Maine — The sun was shining the day Mary Bowie married the man she loves; that's what she'd like to remember about her wedding day at Camp Ketcha in Scarborough.
A summer camp turned out to be the perfect spot for Mary to walk down the aisle with her father on her arm, "I got really emotional at first and I had to try to talk myself down and say, 'Okay, you can't start crying now and ruin your make up and make a scene.'"
A reception followed the ceremony just inside the camp. Mary had stepped out for some fresh air. The DJ was playing Cotton Eyed Joe. "My brother came out and you could kind of see it on his face that he was stressed, but he's very stoic so his stressed is not the same as someone else's stressed. So he came out and said, 'Where is mom? Dad fell and it's serious.'"
Mary's father, Tom Wiley, doesn't remember much about what happened, but he was told his heart stopped beating. Terrifying moments for a bride on her wedding day. "I was almost like, 'Okay, if this had to happen at least he got to walk me down the aisle and we got to dance together.'" Reliving the moment is still difficult for Mary months later. "You try to compartmentalize it because it was such a wonderful day and you don't want to remember it just for the hard time, but it was terrifying."
It was only later that Tom was told about his three life savers: the bride's uncle, Danny Hews; the groom's childhood friend, Tyler Jennings; and Mary's brand new father-in-law, Chris Bowie.
"I was like, 'God please don't let this happen here,'" Chris remembers about the day. Danny is a retired firefighter and started chest compressions when Tom's pulse disappeared. Tyler, who's in the Army Reserves, had tilted Tom's jaw just enough to open an airway. Chris was ready to go with the defibrillator, or AED.
"Everything seemed to click between the three of us," says Danny. "We each had a job and we did our job." All three men had the proper life saving training. While Tyler and Danny got on-the-job training, Chris had just taken a first aid course through work a few weeks earlier. However - all three say the real hero was the AED that Camp Ketcha had installed in the hallway.
"Amazing thing in my mind is that before the rescue got here we had Tom sitting up and talking," says Danny.
Chris agrees, "If that AED wasn't here, if this had happened anywhere else, the outcome would've been far different."
Tom doesn't remember the day the way most of the guests do, but he's grateful for the support he and Mary received. "The two families came together to celebrate the day and the event and I guess it really shows they got put together nicely."