CHICAGO (CBS) -- Smiles all around this morning at the Chicago Fire Department Academy. On Paramedics Day, paramedics were reunited with cardiac arrest survivors and Good Samaritans who helped out before paramedics had arrived.
Chicago Fire Department paramedic Christy Hoover says her ambulance wasn't even a block away when Sara Aubrey's newborn daughter needed help after being delivered at home.
Hoover says the baby wasn't breathing and her heartbeat wasn't strong, so CPR was started on her.
"After several minutes of just CPR and breathing for her, she gave the littlest little whimper," Hoover says.
Paramedics don't often get to see what happens to someone long after they've been helped. Hoover liked today's event, saying, "It's wonderful to see her and see her smiling, her big blue eyes. It's really incredible to follow up on a call like this."
Sara Aubrey says her now-four-month old daughter, Evlin is doing well and of today's event says, "It's wonderful. We can't express our gratitude enough but it's great to at least get to see everybody in a calmer moment."
59-year-old David Tiere was waiting at a bus stop at Foster and Sheridan last August when he collapsed of a heart attack.
Two women, Alicia Ford, who had been at the bus stop as well, and Kelsey Banaszynski, who saw Tieri collapse and pulled over in her car, immediately began CPR until paramedics arrived two minutes later.
"It's pretty amazing. We're all connected, right? We're all in this together," says Banaszynski, who has since moved to Colorado but returned for this morning's ceremony.
Tieri calls them his "angels from heaven."
Paramedic David Daugherty responded to that medical emergency and, upon seeing David Tieri today, alive and well, says it feels amazing that he made a difference in someone's life and "gave somebody an extra day with their family."
34-year-old Brittany Carminati was walking down the street talking to her husband on her cell phone, when she collapsed in cardiac arrest on the North Side.
A couple of bystanders performed CPR until paramedics Joe Johnson and John Franta arrived.
Today, Carminati was at the Paramedics Day event holding her young daughter and being overcome with emotion when thinking about what could have been.
Paramedic John Franta agrees with his partner that seeing Carminati doing well is rewarding and adds that she's "looking a helluva lot better than the last time we saw her.
Chicago Fire Department Ambulance Commander Doreen Rottman says the CFD has become more successful in the last year to getting people to survive cardiac arrests. She says Chicago is now at the national average which is a 28 percent rate of people surviving.
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