Thanksgiving more meaningful for SC firefighter saved by hero

Updated: Nov. 22, 2017 at 11:29 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - When Greg Bailey and his wife celebrate Thanksgiving, they'll give thanks for more than just food and family.

"I'll be thinking that I have my husband with me. I'll be so grateful that we're together again," said his wife, Marty. "It truly is a day for me to give thanks."

"I'm walking. I'm talking. I'm above dirt," her husband added.

Rewind to October 1st on the Ravenel Bridge. Dozens of firefighters crossed the bridge to remember 9/11. Bailey was one of them. He's a paramedic and assistant chief at a volunteer department in Aiken County, Couchton Fire Rescue.

"Last thing I remember was getting off work two days before," said Bailey.

During the walk, Bailey got dizzy and passed out. He was having a massive heart attack.

"I was at the right place at the right time," he said.

That's because by his side was Jesse Bussey, a fellow volunteer at Bailey's department and a full-time Columbia firefighter. You could say Bailey is Bussey's mentor. At that point, his mentor was passed out in front of him, turning purple, and dying.

"Having to render aid yourself to somebody, let alone somebody that you work closely with," Bussey said in a previous interview with WIS. "It's crazy."

But that's what he did, and by all accounts, he and other heroes saved Bailey's life.

"About a week ago, I finally got to talk to him, and all I could say – get out of my mouth – was 'thank you,'" Bailey said.

"My hero," added Bailey's wife. "He's my hero. He didn't have to. I mean, he could have said, 'Hey, I don't want to get involved.' Or he could have freaked out and said, 'Oh my God! I don't know what to do now.'"

Instead, after a month of MUSC, Bailey's back home and more thankful than ever.

"Being a paramedic, after the hundreds of cardiac arrests I've worked, there's a handful of saves. I'm just a miracle," he said.

Bailey and his wife also had lots of thanks for Charleston Fire and Police Departments, North Charleston, other departments down there, and MUSC.

He's already thinking about going back down there next year for the 9/11 walk.

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