Heart of the Gulf: Baldwin County family count their Thanksgiving blessings
ORANGE BEACH, Alabama (WKRG) – Thomas and his wife Tammy were visiting family in Orange Beach six years ago this week, getting ready for the Iron Bowl Eve party at Tammy’s parents. Watching the game together is a tradition they look forward to every year.
“It really is a divided house. Harry and Betty are both Alabama graduates and my wife Tammy, their daughter, graduated from Auburn, ”said Thomas Conerly.
It started off as a relaxing afternoon. Harry, an avid runner, jogged three kilometers before the game. Seconds after he got home, his family knew something was wrong.
“The eyes rolled back, moaned and sure enough you knew immediately something was wrong,” Thomas said.
Thomas, who is a registered nurse, describes the terrifying times. He started giving CPR to his stepfather, and after eight minutes he feared the worst.
“8 minutes is a long time to do CPR. I really thought I lost him, ”he continued.
But, at that moment, Harry took a sudden breath.
“Then he asks why you are all around me,” Thomas said.
Harry doesn’t remember much. He was rushed to hospital and appeared to be doing better by the end of the afternoon. He tells us he was feeling tired that morning, but other than that he felt what he calls normal.
“When you run marathons and the 10k and 5k, you think your heart is in good shape,” said Harry Clem.
It was determined that he had gone into cardiac arrest and the life saving measures taken by Thomas saved his life.
“I think God used Thomas to help me come back to life,” Harry added.
This year, during Thanksgiving week, Thomas and Harry are smiling and telling jokes, grateful for another year with the family. Harry knows his son-in-law’s quick wit is the greatest blessing he can ever receive.
“I take no credit for it. The good Lord put me there when I was supposed to be there, ”Thomas said.