ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando hotel worker is being honored by the American Red Cross after saving a man’s life five months ago.
Ivan Melians said he didn’t know about the award.
“Nothing, not even a hint. It was surprising, very surprising,” Melians said.
On Labor Day, William and Fatima Barakat were staying at the Las Palmeras Resort in Orlando. The couple was celebrating 40 years together.
William Barakat went into cardiac arrest inside his hotel room. His wife called 911 and hotel employees rushed in to help, including Melians.
He performed chest compressions for 11 minutes.
“It’s a pleasure that I was there for you and I’m just happy that you’re doing better and you’re back with your family,” Melians said to William Barakat during the award ceremony on Friday. “I’m super, extremely happy that he’s doing well with his family.”
Barakat’s wife said doctors found five clogged arteries and performed coronary artery bypass surgery. She said the doctors told her he should have been paralyzed from the loss of oxygen, but he survived and is walking because of Melians’ quick actions.
“You put our family back together and there’s no words for that,” Fatima Barakat said.
The Barakat family participated in the ceremony by phone as the American Red Cross awarded Melians with a “National Lifesaving Award.”
Janice Moran, the executive director of the Greater Orlando chapter, said Melians received CPR training through the American Red Cross.
“It is so heartwarming to know that an everyday individual was at work and he was able to save someone’s life,” Moran said. “He was able to save someone’s life and it not only impacted the survivor, the person he saved, but his family. The love that is there is just amazing and it’s beautiful to see and be a part of that.”
The Barakats said Melians deserves the award. They called him their hero and added every day they think about what he did for their family.
“I’m almost at 99% good health. I appreciate everything that has happened. I always thank god every day, every morning,” William Barakat said.
Melians said he is thankful for the recognition.
“I feel like I have made a change, a difference for the family and that is my proud moment for them,” he said.
He adds he hopes this story will inspire others to learn this life-saving skill.
“That’s truly my hope and my wish that someone will see this and when they get the call, they get the opportunity to save someone’s life they truly give their best,” Melians said.
Click here for more information on the National Lifesaving Award and to learn how you can nominate someone.
Click here for CPR training information.