New Salem woman that saved man having heart attack honored as Hometown Hero

Franklin County

When Holly Holden from the Franklin County town of New Salem drove her mother to West Springfield, Holly had no idea the trip would include saving the life of a beloved school crossing guard.

The Western Massachusetts Red Cross prepares to honor Holly Holden for using her CPR training when she saw 56-year-old Gary Joyce was near death from a heart attack.

“She came running up to me, and grabbed and holding me,” said Gary. “I want to be able to thank her and everybody else too, they saved my life, but this is my angel, my hero.”

When West Springfield Police Chief Bob Duffy saw Holly quickly and efficiently applying CPR, he knew he was in the company of a Hometown Hero.

“Not everybody can do that. It takes somebody special to take that training, realize it’s needed and apply that training, and it saved Gary’s life,” said Chief Duffy.

Gary Joyce is back at work as a crossing guard for children at the Coburn Elementary School. 
Holly followed every step of his recovery after Gary’s near fatal ordeal.

“I really, really wanted to know if he’s alive and they said he’s in critical condition, and I’ve been in tears ever since,” said Holly.

“Just came out of my mouth, ‘you’re the one who saved my life?’ and she said ‘yes I am,’ and both of us cried and cried,” said Gary.

Be there Thursday morning when the Western Massachusetts Red Cross honors Holly Holden as a Hometown Hero.

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