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WNY teen honored for his life-saving actions

Posted at 12:09 AM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 00:09:14-04

COLDEN, N.Y. (WKBW) — Last fall, at the Colden Country Inn, Peter Priester was getting ready to have a meal with his wife.

“I remember taking a sip of my cider, I had a hard cider and I told my wife to take a try, to see if she would like it because it's sweeter, and that was it,” recalled Priester.

“It just went dark.”

The captain with the Erie County Sheriff's Office went into cardiac arrest. A 15-year-old dishwasher came to his rescue.

“As we were moving him, he stopped breathing and we lost a pulse. So, I just started CPR,” said Cody Atwater.

He kept preforming chest compressions until help arrived.

“I may not be standing here in front of you today, if it wasn't for this young man,” said Priester.

More than half a year later, the organization that helped provide that training is honoring the now 16-year-old. The Boy Scouts of America bestowed Atwater with the Lifesaving and Meritorious Action Award.

Atwater is not a boy scout, but he did learn CPR from the Explorers Program with the Hillcrest Fire Department in Orchard Park. The Boy Scouts run the Explorers Program.

While humbled by the award, he just wants more people to learn CPR.

“Do it. You never know when you're going to need it,” said Atwater.

Priester is certainly glad Atwater took the time to learn the lifesaving skill.

“I'm glad he was there,” added Priester.

The Red Cross teaches CPR classes. You can learn more about them here.