Douglas County 911 operator talks teen through saving mom’s life

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- At the Douglas County 911 call center, they are used to expecting the unexpected. But the call Markie Humes took in early January was a real life-saver.

Jo Cornelius collapsed at her home outside of Elbert. Her 16-year-old daughter, Casey, called 911, saying her mom had stopped breathing.

"Please send help! Please send help!" Casey said.

Right away, the 911 operator explained how to perform CPR.

"Place the heel of your hand on the breast bone," Humes calmly said.

Humes counted along with the teenager as she performed compressions on her mother's chest. Casey remained calm throughout the 15-minute call.

"I held it together at first, but after I got off the phone, I kind of just fell apart," the high school sophomore said.

When volunteer emergency workers arrived, they took over performing CPR. Cornelius and her daughter heard the 911 call for the first time Friday.

"My heart was breaking just knowing their mom was dead," said Cornelius, holding back tears. "It just scares me to think their kids would be without a mom."

Humes said Casey's calm made a big difference.

"The fact that she listened to all the instructions, amazingly, helped me help her (mom)," she said.

The mother and daughter were able to meet Humes for the first time Friday.

"I can't express my gratitude for what you did. Thank you," Cornelius said.

This was the first time Humes had helped save someone's life. Overall, operators at the Douglas County 911 call center have helped save seven lives since February 2016.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is offering free CPR classes. Many of the classes have already been filled, but more are being scheduled.