Yuma Proving Ground Ammunition Recovery technician Josh Laudermilk performed CPR on a man on July 24 during a family river trip and and saved his life. (Photo courtesy of Josh Laudermilk)
Yuma Proving Ground Ammunition Recovery technician Josh Laudermilk performed CPR on a man on July 24 during a family river trip and and saved his life. (Photo courtesy of Josh Laudermilk) (Photo Credit: Ana Henderson) VIEW ORIGINAL

Ammunition Recovery technician Josh Laudermilk headed north to Ehrenburg for a family celebration on the weekend of July 24.

While he knew his weekend would be memorable, he didn’t realize it would be so eventful.

Laudermilk was spending the weekend at a RV resort along the river for a family gathering and was sitting in the water when he heard his wife yelling for their two kids. He stood up to see what was happening, and it turns his wife was trying to find their two kids because of the commotion surrounding a man who slipped while standing on a slide and knocked unconscious.

“He had a pretty good laceration on the back of his head,” described Laudermilk.

As Laudermilk walked up he found his family member who is a registered nurse applying pressure to the man’s head along with the help of her boyfriend, Damien.

“He was still breathing but within a minute or so he just went limp. We checked for a pulse and he had no pulse.”

By this time, it seemed everyone who was at the river had walked up to see what was happening.

“Everyone is screaming…everyone is freaking out.”

Those who could help, joined forces and created a human chain to pull the man up the slide on to a platform. Once on solid ground Damien began CPR. At that time another nurse walked up to scene.

“There was a handful of people who knew what they were doing and they were all just keeping the rhythm for myself and Damien.”

Laudermilk spent ten years in the Marines and learned CPR while serving in uniform. Additionally, he must maintain his CRP certification as a requirement of his position at YPG. The two men took turns performing the exhausting steps of CPR. “I had to stand up and put all my bodyweight on him as opposed to just pushing with my upper body.”

On the second round of compressions, the man became responsive. Laudermilk has been in combat and seen a lot of combat injuries, yet something about seeing the man come back to life “was surreal.” He adds, “I’ve put on tourniquets, I have dealt with Marines that didn’t make it, I’ve recovered people from a river that didn’t make it, but to see this lifeless body just lying there. He was blue and purple and then he went completely pale and as we were doing CPR you could see the color coming back to him.”

Even though everyone worked tirelessly to bring the man back to life, Laudermilk was still shocked to see the CPR work.

“The whole crowd took a sigh of relief when he started breathing.”

A couple minutes later the first responders arrived and used a helicopter to flyer the man to a medical center. Miraculously enough, the man was back at the camp site later that night with no recollection of what happened, yet still super grateful. “He kept telling me ‘thank you’ and his family kept coming up to us.”

Laudermilk praises the group of people who worked together to bring the man back to life. As for his family who watched on as he saved a life, they were in awe of his actions.