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EXCLUSIVE: Former Lifeguard Hailed A Hero, Saves Woman On L.I. Golf Course

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A day of golfing turned into a frantic race to save a woman's life on Long Island.

A former Jones Beach lifeguard is credited with saving a total stranger's life after she collapsed in Eisenhower Park.

Good Samaritan Rick Spellman and retiree Margaret Savarese were recently reunited.

"It's emotional when I talk about him," Savarese told CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan on Tuesday. "But to me he's my guardian angel."

Savarese of Massapequa was at the 8th tee on the blue course at Eisenhower Park when she suddenly collapsed.

Spellman, who was also golfing at the time, sprung into action in a frantic race against the clock to keep the unconscious senior citizen breathing.

"Marge's friends, her two girlfriends who were with her, Joan and Loretta, they were frantic. And Joan was on the phone and trying to do CPR with one hand. And I was like, 'that's not the way to do it, get out of the way' and I just jumped in there," Spellman told McLogan.

Spellman knew CPR well from his decade rescuing swimmers on Jones Beach.

When EMTs arrived, they rushed Savarese to Nassau University Medical Center, where doctors told her she had suffered a heart attack.

Spellman and Savarese were reunited at North Hempstead Town Hall.

"The emotion was when I met her because I finally got to see her animated. And color in her face, not pale, white, lying on the ground," Spellman told CBS 2's McLogan.

Spellman was honored with a Certificate of Appreciation for his act of heroism.

"To be able to jump in and save a life can happen at any moment," said North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman. "We are fortunate to have someone like Rick in our community."

Savarese said she just celebrated a special Christmas with her family thanks to a local hero.

"A very, very special person to me, always, because I feel he really brought me back to life," she told McLogan.

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