ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A South Georgia teacher and two Albany State alumni are being recognized after helping save a man's life.
It happened last Wednesday.
Hundreds of people had filled a church to lay a beloved Albany man to rest. A sudden movement in the front of the church and all eyes turned to Rickey Alexander. The former Albany State University assistant football coach fell unconscious, into a heart attack.
"The funeral really stopped and everybody in the church was in shock," said witness Glenn Singfield. "And I would say subsequently, some of the guys there, who were mostly Omegas, that were close to him, laid him on the floor. In doing so, they were trying to see what was the deal. At some point it was found that Ricky wasn't breathing."
It was then when Singfield said a stranger, a petite woman stepped in.
"We talk about moments of truth. And moments of truth can be life or death decisions. Miss Mabrey took charge. If we were the instruments and the orchestra, she was the conductor," smiled Singfield.
A conductor on that day, most other days she's conducting a different crowd of young Dougherty County Students.
Elaine Mabrey works as a speech therapist for the school system.
"I just did it. I just reacted," explained Mabrey when she recalled the day. "I was sitting right there on the second row just diagonal from Mr. Alexander. I saw him slump over in the pew and I kind of waited for a minute, like is someone going to do something."
From there, Mabrey said it was a blur. She recalls bits and pieces of what she did to help.
"She didn't wait. She physically jumped on Ricky and went to work," said Singfield, motioning with his hands Mabrey's reactions on that day.
Mabrey said it goes to show that her CPR training for the school system is necessary.
"As a person here in the school system I am CPR certified and every year we get it renewed. I signed that I am CPR certified. So to me that's if I am in the community and someone needs help, I am to provide that service," said Mabrey.
And that's what she did.
Singfield said it's thanks to Mabrey, and his two fraternity brothers, Marvin Baker and Devin Hawkins, that Alexander is alive today. And it's Singfield who made sure Mabrey and the men were recognized at a school board meeting this week for their extraordinary work.
"I just want the community to know that she's the real deal. And she's humble about it. And that's the way true leaders are. You never blow your own whistle," said Singfield.
Singfield smiled when he said if another miracle happens in the Dougherty County School System, he'll know who had something to do with it.
Both Singfield and Mabrey agree CPR training is important for everyone. They also said it's good for churches and other organizations to invest in a defibrillator.
If there wasn't one at the church, things could have ended very differently.
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