Charles “Chuck” Bolen said that in his 10 years living in the Washington, D.C. metro area he had never seen as much rain fall as he did on April 30, 2014. So it was fitting that on that day of remarkable events, Bolen would do something memorable as well—save a passenger’s life.

An Assistant Federal Security Director – Law Enforcement at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Bolen just finished resolving a firearm situation at one of the checkpoints when he was told that someone needed immediate help.

“As soon as I saw the person slumped in the chair, I knew he needed attention right away,” said Bolen, who spent nearly 15 years in law enforcement before joining TSA in 2002. Bolen felt a weak pulse and noticed the man’s discoloration becoming increasingly severe.

Realizing that the man’s condition was declining rapidly, Bolen sprinted to grab the nearest AED machine. With help from Federal Air Marshal Brian Stout, they worked together to apply the AED machine. After a single attempt, the machine advised to begin CPR. Bolen initiated chest compressions and continued administering the life-saving action, even after first responders arrived on scene.

“When moments like this happen, you just react,” said Stout, who did three combat tours in Iraq as a Marine Infantry Sergeant. “We knew we didn’t have a lot of time and just got to work doing whatever we could to keep the man alive.”

Luckily, their quick, collaborative actions paid off. While in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, the man’s heart started and stopped several times, but today he’s alive after recovering from triple bypass surgery.

Office of Security Operations Director of Field Operations Scott McShaffrey called the actions “inspiring and heroic.”

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