04/30/2012 10:56 EDT | Updated 06/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Darlene Thomas CPR: Triple Amputee Walmart Greeter Honoured For Saving Man's Life

Katelin Dean/Alaska Highway News
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. - Residents in Fort St. John, B.C., are joining forces to reward a woman who helped save the life of a heart attack victim.

Darlene Thomas is trained as a paramedic and a nurse, so saving lives isn't new to her — but Thomas doesn't work in health care anymore, she's a greeter at the Wal-Mart in her northeastern B.C. city.

She's also a triple amputee.

But when a 43-year-old man collapsed and stopped breathing while Thomas was at work, she pushed herself out of her wheelchair, pulled off her prosthetic arm and began CPR, keeping the man alive until paramedics arrived.

Thomas recounted the dramatic incident to the Alaska Highway News:

"They brought me an airway,” Thomas said, referring the tube-shaped device used to help in CPR, "but I only have one hand – so I don’t have a hand to hold the airway – but I got a stump, but of course I got rid of my arm right away because you can’t do CPR with an artificial arm," she told the newspaper.

She also recounted how one of her artificial legs also came off while she was performing CPR. Thomas also told the paper that during her career as a paramedic she has only lost one person. "I just knew I could bring him back, so I did," she told the paper.

Since the April 9 incident, Thomas has been recommended for separate Wal-Mart and Red Cross awards, but the community is also offering something more practical.

Thomas lives in a wheelchair inaccessible duplex and a trust fund has been set up at a local credit union to raise money for a much-needed ramp to her home, with any leftover cash earmarked for upgrades to make her bathroom more accessible. (MooseFM)

Photo below by Katelin Dean for the Alaska Highway News