TROUP COUNTY, Ga. — In an incredible reunion, a 54-year-old cardiac arrest survivor met the first responders who saved his life.
Mike Pilgrim was helping a friend cut down a tree when he was electrocuted. He went into cardiac arrest and was found next to his truck. He was out cold.
"That's the only thing I really remember when it actually shocked me was I said, 'God, let me live. Please, let me live'," Pilgrim said.
Upon arriving, first-responders immediately began various life-saving measures and were able to get him breathing again.
After finally meeting them in person on Thursday, Pilgrim said he couldn't be more grateful.
"I love 'em and I appreciate 'em," he said.
One-by-one Pilgrim hugged every member of the group that worked to save his life from the paramedics to the firefighter who drove the arriving firetruck.
He even took a few questions about his recovery and how his fingers and toes were doing after the shock from members of AMR Medical Unit 88. Standing Amid a group of roughly a dozen people - the ones who saved him - he was both a patient again and "a rockstar" who had a significantly better prognosis now than the day his life hung in the balance.
"I didn't know there was going to be this many people," he said laughing.
Pilgrim said he remembers hearing the hum of the transformer brief moments before it stopped his heart.
"The 'brrrr' and then I seen all different color lights," he said. "And I don't remember nothing else."
He told the group of rescuers that he felt a little better but admitted to EMTs that he still hears the buzzing at night.
"That'll go away with time," paramedic Tim Willey said.
Willey remembered the moment he arrived at the scene and they began working.
"He was pulseless, he was not breathing at the time," he said.
He said CPR and more controlled shocks were able to bring him back.
"V-FIB's one of those rhythms that electricity's the only thing that fixes it," he said. "So, it seems strange that a person can get electrocuted and the answer to fixing it is more electrocution, basically."
Both Wiley and EMT Retosha McKenzie were given certificates for excellence in patient care from AMR.
Both said that he looked a lot better than the last time they saw him.
"Got more color to you this time," McKenzie said.
McKenzie said others there also played a pivotal role in his survival.
"When we got on-scene, the bystanders that ... started the CPR, they was doing the best they could and they was doing a good quality until we was able to get there," she said.
She said it was an example of why the public should learn CPR.
"Because you never know when your loved one or someone that you know is going to go down and you're going to need that," she said.
Pilgrim's wife, Tonya, said she was in shock herself when she got the call about her husband.
"They said that I needed to come because he was headed by a helicopter to the hospital and he was unresponsive," she said.
She said it was the fast work of those men and women around them during the reunion that allowed him to be there - walking and talking.
"I just thank you all, so very much," she said. "I know I've said that a thousand times but nobody knows how appreciative I am."
As for Pilgrim, he credits first-responders and his faith for his quick recovery.
"I'm lucky to be here," he said.