When Dennis Ow had a heart attack in the middle of a training run last year, he wanted to thank the men and women who helped save his life, and now he’s doing it in a unique way.
If you know any runners, then you know they’re a pretty resilient and determined breed. But it’s safe to say Ow is on a completely different level. He spent the last year tracking down the people who helped save him, to give them a gift they will never forget.
“The outcome I had is pretty rare. I mean, you’re looking at less than one to two percent,” said Ow, a heart attack survivor.
At times, they can seem like the hardest words to say or come across as reactionary or hollow.
“To me, saying ‘thank you’ wasn’t going to be enough,” said Ow.
But for Ow, saying thanks needed to happen face-to-face with the people who saved his life.
“There was a letter that said ‘Officer Limon’ on it,” said Officer Homer Limon, with the Folsom Police Department.
Limon was the first to get a letter in the mail asking him to be a part of a group dinner honoring the men and women who came to Ow’s aid.
“I was shocked first of all. When I opened it, I was in disbelief that it was, I guess. I’ve never received one in my 19-year career,” said Limon.
Chief Ken Cusano was the first paramedic to respond to the Rainbow Bridge. He too received an invitation.
“For somebody to go through the trouble that he went through, to thank us for doing our job, it’s inspiring. He really is a great person,” said Cusano.
At dinner, Ow presented each person with a special plaque with a special message.
“I wanted to give them a little piece, and so I enlarged my other photo and everybody gets one piece of my heart,” he said.
And in a time where police relations can seem strained, comes a gesture that reminds us all of the impact a simple “thank you” can bring.
Ow has picked up running again. In fact, he recently ran a marathon in Hawaii and has another one coming up in December. His one message out of this ordeal: learn CPR. He says you never know when you’ll need to use it or who you’ll save.