First Responders & Civilians Honored For CPR Care That Saved Restaurant Worker

Staff members at Columbia’s ‘Blue Marlin’ restaurant as well as seven area first responders were recognized for the swift and efficient actions they took to save a man from sudden cardiac arrest last month.

On Thursday February 23, 2023, award presentations were made at the restaurant. Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins presented the CRFD Phoenix Award to the four firefighters and three Richland County EMS staff members that responded to the call. The ‘Blue Marlin’ also received a Certificate of Commendation from CRFD for the heroic acts taken by their staff.

CRFD firefighters responded to Blue Marlin on the morning of January 12, 2023 after getting reports that a kitchen worker there had been found unconscious.

Maegan Horton, who is an executive chef at the restaurant, immediately began performing CPR after telling her colleagues to call 9-1-1. CPR efforts continued once firefighters arrived on scene and an automated external defibrillator (AED) was also used on the patient. He was rushed from the scene by Richland County EMS and has since made a full recovery.

“Recent events in our country have once again demonstrated why it’s important for citizens to know how to do CPR. The actions taken by the staff at Blue Marlin made all the difference in keeping this man alive until our personnel could get to the scene,” said Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins. “From there our firefighters were able to do the quality work that that they do and effectively administer the AED.”

“I’m very thankful that the firefighters showed up as quickly as they did,” Horton said.

According to Blue Marlin staff, the worker who became unresponsive passed out while he was in a walk-in cooler at the restaurant.

“I was looking for him and I couldn’t find him. I checked the walk-in cooler and he was sitting on the floor there,” Horton said. She then alerted her colleagues to call 9-1-1 while working to get the patient to another room. “I then laid him down on the floor and started CPR,” she said.

Every second counts when a person experiences cardiac arrest, so it is critically important to be trained on how to perform CPR and use an AED. The American Red Cross of South Carolina offers lifesaving skills classes in CPR, AED-use as well as First Aid. Officials with the Red Cross were also present for today’s award ceremony.

“Accidents and emergencies can happen anytime at home, in the workplace or in the community. Every second counts when sudden cardiac arrest occurs and it’s critical to know what to do in an emergency,” said Rebecca Jordan, Executive Director of the Central Chapter of the Red Cross of South Carolina. “The Red Cross recommends this lifesaving training for everyone, including parents, grandparents and caregivers. Red Cross First Aid Training takes only a few hours and can give you the skills and confidence to act in an emergency and help save a life.”

Each year more than 300,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest in the U.S. For each minute that defibrillation is delayed, the person’s chance for survival is reduced by about 10%. On average nearly 2.2. million people get trained in Red Cross First Aid, CPR and AED courses each year. Classes are available in-person and online. For more information on classes available in your area visit


The Columbia-Richland Fire Department would like to extend its congratulations to today’s honorees:


Phoenix Award Winners


Lt. Kaitlyn Griffin, Richland County EMS      Sgt. Holly Yandle, Richland County EMS


Dr. Jessica Wanthal, Richland County EMS


Senior FF Patrick Hayes, CRFD                        Fire Capt. William Cunningham, CRFD


(Recognized But Not Pictured: Senior Firefighter William Harrelson & Firefighter Robert E. Ford Jr – CRFD)


CRFD Citizen Certificate of Commendation

Staff of Columbia’s ‘Blue Marlin’ Restaurant