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Off-Duty EMT Saves Life of Pastor Who Went into Cardiac Arrest while Officiating a Wedding

Milton Quintanilla | Contributor for ChristianHeadlines.com | Friday, January 13, 2023
Off-Duty EMT Saves Life of Pastor Who Went into Cardiac Arrest while Officiating a Wedding

Off-Duty EMT Saves Life of Pastor Who Went into Cardiac Arrest while Officiating a Wedding

An off-duty EMT saved a pastor's life after he went into cardiac arrest while presiding over a wedding in New Jersey last month.

On December 29, Pastor Anthony Palmer of Empowered Life Church had presided over a wedding of an unnamed couple when he suddenly passed out.

"I said it would require patience, love, kindness, and then I passed out," he told NBC4 New York.

The pastor did not realize what had happened to him until he woke up in the hospital.

At the time, 22-year-old EMT Valeria Franco had been in the next room working as part of the catering team.

"We heard something fall; we were all in a separate room and were a little confused," Franco told ABC 7.

Franco's mother, Brenda Franco, who was working with her at the event, urged her daughter to use her skills as an EMT while wedding guests called 911.

"I was like Valeria, 'go, run, do, it's your thing, they're waiting for you,'" Brenda Franco said.

According to The Christian Post, Franco is credited for keeping Palmer alive since emergency services took a long time to arrive. On Tuesday, Paterson City Hall honored the young woman at an event where she saw Palmer for the first time since the wedding.

"I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for your service," the pastor told her.

Pastorson Mayer Andrew Sayegh commended Franco's actions on social media earlier this week.

"SHE'S LITERALLY A LIFESAVER! One week before Damar Hamlin collapsed and went into cardiac arrest on the football field, Pastor Anthony Palmer went into cardiac arrest while officiating a wedding in Paterson. Thankfully, an off-duty EMT was working with a catering company at the event and was able to perform CPR on the pastor," Sayegh wrote on Tuesday on Facebook. "Her valiant efforts helped save his life. Please join me in saluting Valeria Franco for her heroism."

Franco told ABC that providence occurred the day of the incident since she was supposed to be at work with the Woodland Park rescue squad but changed her plans following a delayed call.

"You're where you were supposed to be for a reason," she said.

On Jan. 3, Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during a nationally broadcast football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

As Christian Headlines previously reported, Hamlin was discharged from a Buffalo hospital on Wednesday, where he will continue his rehab at home.


Damar Hamlin Is Discharged from the Hospital

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Matt Gush

Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.