POLK COUNTY, Ga. (CBS) — It was a muggy morning on June 12, with 100 percent humidity and 76-degree heat, when a correctional officer collapsed during a prison work detail.
But six inmates worked together to save the security officer, who asked not to be identified, while they were maintaining the lawns at a local graveyard.
The officer was unconscious for about a minute and was not breathing, inmate Greg Williams said.
“When he started breathing, it was just real heavy and real fast,” Williams told WXIA-TV in Atlanta.
Together the inmates removed the officer’s gun belt and bulletproof vest to cool him off, opened his shirt and performed CPR. One prisoner took the officer’s phone to dial 911.
“They really stepped up in a time of crisis and [showed] that they care about my officers,” Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats said. “That really speaks a lot about my officers too, how they treat these inmates. They treat them like people. Like family.”
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office shared a Facebook post commending the prisoners for rescuing the officer.
The officer’s family members also provided a free lunch to the inmates who helped save the officer’s life.
But for Williams, he said the group just doing the right thing.
“When that happened, in my opinion, it wasn’t about who is in jail and who wasn’t,” he said. “It was about a man going down and we had to help him.”