During a recent wedding ceremony at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, a wedding guest in the stands collapsed into unconsciousness.

VA police officer Larry Templeton

VA police officer Larry Templeton

Fortunately, Larry Templeton, a police officer at the Oklahoma City VA, had VA Basic Life Support training and jumped into action.

A member of the wedding party in full groomsman attire, Templeton instantly leapt over chairs and other guests and rushed to the unresponsive man’s aid.

“I felt like a duck on the water,” said Templeton, an Army Veteran. “Calm on the surface but paddling like crazy underneath trying to get everything right and save his life.”

Equipped with the necessary skills to perform life-saving measures, Templeton immediately began mouth-to-mouth breathing and chest compressions.

Assigned bystanders important tasks

Next, Templeton assigned someone to find an automated external defibrillator (AED). He directed another bystander to call 911.

When the AED was located, he gave instructions to volunteers on the proper placement of the AED pads and the safe activation of the machine.

The machine advised a shock was required to return the individual’s heart to a normal rhythm. The shock was administered and Templeton resumed CPR.

Templeton and his wife, Abby

After about 15 minutes, the man regained consciousness just as paramedics arrived.

Recent studies suggest that less than half of those who suffer from cardiac arrest receive any type of CPR assistance from a bystander.

When these types of situations arise, the common response is that no bystander was certified in CPR. There is also an aspect of fear involved, causing those around to hesitate in administering these critical skills.

“Knew what had to be done… and did it.”

“Larry was very professional, very composed, and very in control of his actions,” said Miltri Allday, mother of the groom. “Larry knew what had to be done and did it.”

The wedding guest is alive today thanks to Templeton’s quick response. After paramedics took control of the situation, he got up, dusted himself off, and headed back to assume his groomsman duties.

“We are very proud of Larry and that he implemented the training he received from the Oklahoma City VA to save a man’s life,” said Lieutenant Edwin Compton, VA Police training coordinator. “While VA police have many duties to care for and protect our nation’s Veterans, we also play an important role in the communities where we live.”

“The training I received from VA gave me what I needed to act and save this man’s life,” Templeton said.

By Audrey M. Umhoefer is a public affairs officer with the Oklahoma City VA

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Published on Sep. 26, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.2 min.

Views to date: 314


  1. William F Troskey September 26, 2021 at 9:27 pm

    BRAVO ZULU, Officer Templeton!!!!!

  2. Rick Bass September 26, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    Wonderful to read stories such as this. So often we hear of life being taken (gun violence) and here is an example of a veteran and police officer who still answering the “call to serve” and save lives. Your heroic story should have made national news! Thank you for being there Officer Templeton – from another grateful veteran.

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