Orange County 911 dispatcher honored for helping save man's life

Dispatcher talked man's wife through saving life

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A man who almost died of a heart attack reunited on Tuesday with the Orange County 911 dispatcher who talked his wife through saving his life a year ago.

Damarus Hernandez, a 911 dispatcher, received a lifesaving award from the Orange County Fire Rescue and a national award naming her the best dispatcher in the Southeast.

Steve Holley fought back tears, overcome with gratitude for how Hernandez fought for him.

"I had a big snore, I guess, and I fell out and I died for 8 minutes," Steve Holley said. "During that time my wife called 911."

Delsie Holley, Steve's wife, also met Hernandez and thanked her.

"I know what it's like because you're looking at your loved one," Delsie Holley said. "Thank you for dealing with me! Because I know I wasn't the calmest person, I was frantic."

In the 911 calls, Hernandez, a 7-year veteran, kept calm and helped Delsie, who is an Orange County firefighter, through chest compressions. Delsie knew what to do but in the moment, she just needed a little help.

"And now that he's with me you don't want to let go because you had that one miracle, how many miracles do we get in a lifetime, you know?" Delsie said. "I'm so fortunate to have him here with me, I'm not going to waste it, and I know he's not either."

Steve Holley is almost 100 percent recovered, but when he came into the hospital, doctors only gave him a 10 percent chance of survival.


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