WINDHAM, Maine — When you work as a first responder, it may be hard to sit back and take a moment to reflect on the lives you impact.
But an off-duty Windham Fire and Rescue worker had that opportunity after saving his neighbor's life.
Dustin Andrews is an EMT for Windham Fire and Rescue, but he said he wasn't working the morning of Jan. 24.
While driving his family, he said the car in front of him started to operate oddly before it crashed in a snowbank lining a retainer wall over a bridge.
After Andrews decided to stop, he noticed Rob Parritt in the driver's seat. At first, Andrews thought Parritt was having a seizure.
"Once I gained access to the window, I was able to realize he was not breathing, and that's when I said he needs to come out. I pulled him out and began CPR," Andrews said.
Andrews said he used his pocketknife to break the window and performed CPR on Parritt for seven minutes before paramedics came by.
Parritt survived his medical episode, which he said was diagnosed as a cardiac arrest.
"It just blows my mind," Parritt said. "I'm still trying to figure out where people were. ... There has to be a reason."
Parritt said the chances that an off-duty first responder noticed he was driving odd and stopped to rescue him were so low, he decided to invite Andrews and his family over to his home on Sunday so they can meet each other formally.
"I did it just to show him how much I appreciate it and, you know, this is why you do your job. Whenever you can get something good, I like to see you recognized for it," Parritt said.
The two hugged and met each other's children and other relatives.
Parritt and Andrews also discovered they were neighbors, living less than a half mile from each other.
"Just to be here and to meet the guy that saved my life and, in my opinion, without his actions, I wouldn't be here today. It's as simple as that," Parritt added.