Mike Turner knows CPR.
And, as happenstance would have it, Turner, a retired 39-year firefighter, was in the right place to help Eric Paulsen — who nearly drowned Oct. 14 in the Gulf of Mexico near Moose Lodge 2188 in Bradenton Beach.
Beachgoers saw the 54-year-old man go into the water, swim awhile and, at about 3:42 p.m., when he began floating and looking purple, called 911, according to marine rescue and police reports.
People from the beach went to the back door of the Moose, saying someone needed CPR just as Turner, a seven-months-a-year snowbird on Anna Maria Island, was about to begin washing dishes, his Moose volunteer job that day.
That’s when Turner and others from the Moose sprang into action.
“On the way out the back the door, I grabbed the AED in case it was needed,” he said.
As he got closer to the water, Turner saw Paulsen being pulled onto the beach by Samaratans.
“For a while there, I didn’t think he’d make it,” said Debbie Snook, Moose office manager, who assisted with Turner’s efforts.
Once Paulsen was on the beach, Turner used his dishwasher’s apron to dry Paulsen’s chest, before an off-duty EMT at the beach with his family, helped him affix the AED’s contact pads.
The AED registered “no shock was needed” and to “continue CPR,” which they did.
Time stood still for the rescuers and Turner couldn’t guess how long the rescue took, saying he just did what he was trained to do and had done a multitude of times — until emergency responders from Manatee County Marine Rescue and EMS took over patient care.
“It did take a village,” Turner said, emphasizing the importance of the AED — which if not used for cardiac arrest can reduce the chance of survival by 7-10 percent every minute.
“I give total credit to the emergency responders,” he added.
EMS transported Paulsen to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, where he was treated, hospitalized and discharged several days later.