DEER CREEK CANYON, Colo. — A Jefferson County man is thanking first responders for saving his life, after he had a heart attack in the middle of a hike.
Keith Folino was four miles into a hike at Deer Creek Canyon Park, when he felt a pain in his right arm.
“My bicep started hurting really bad, and I got weak, so I found a rock in the shade and sat down,” says Folino.
A nearby biker realized something was wrong, and called 911.
“Heart attack did flip through my mind, but I always heard when you have a heart attack, it’s like an elephant standing on your chest,” Folino said. “It didn’t feel like that, but it did feel like an elephant trying to get out of my arms.”
Firefighters at Inter Canyon Fire Protection District had just returned to the station after helping another hiker with a minor injury get back to the parking lot.
Shane Buckles and his team of volunteer firefighters went back to the trail, and started climbing.
“When we got to Keith, it was quickly realized the urgency of Keith’s condition,” Buckles said. “That’s when we called in the chopper.”
Firefighters stabilized Folino, and waited for the helicopter to arrive.
Folino was airlifted to St. Anthony Hospital, where doctors found a complete blockage in an artery.
“I was sitting there thinking about how fortunate I was to have crossed paths with so many good people,” he said.
Folino wrote a note thanking the firefighters, and mailed it to the station earlier this month.
Friday, he got to meet part of the team that helped him.
“I wanted to thank them, and tell them how I felt, and how my family felt,” he said.
“We typically don’t have much contact with patients after the fact, they move on with their lives, so this has been great to meet Keith and his family, and see him upright, instead of how we saw him last,” said Buckles.