Off-duty Acton firefighter helps save man’s life while on vacation

ACTON, Mass. — Wade Messamore and his wife, Crystal, have their hands full -- they have eight children ranging in age from 14-years-old to one-year-old.

The family recently took a short vacation to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania where Messamore helped save a man’s life.

“The day we went it was 97 or 98 degrees. The heat index was 110. It was crazy,” he said.

While waiting in line for drinks, Messamore saw an elderly man collapse. He immediately sprang into action and quickly realized the man wasn’t breathing.

“I checked his pulse and he didn’t have a pulse. I just immediately started chest compressions,” he said.

Messamore continued CPR for several minutes while someone called 911. The man took a breath just as paramedics arrived.

“I’ve done CPR hundreds of times and I can probably count on one hand how many times they’ve woken up and talked to me,” Wade said.

Wade saved the man’s life despite not feeling well himself.

The Acton firefighter and paramedic has been out of work since the beginning of the year due to a condition called Arnold-Chiari Malformation.

It causes dizziness, severe headaches and coordination issues.

In January, Wade had surgery to cut out a portion of his skull that was putting pressure on his brain.

“It’s a condition people are born with where your skull develops a little too shallow and pushes your brain down through the hole in the bottom of your skull where your spinal cord comes out,” he said.

As Messamore continues dealing with extreme dizziness he said he’s counting his blessings and is thankful he was able to help a stranger.

“To have a guy wake up and talk to me is amazing,” he said.

Messamore said the man was alert and conscious when he was taken to the hospital.

In November Wade is scheduled to see an otoneurologist, a neurologist who specializes in dizziness.

The Messamore family has a GoFundMe page set up to help them financially while Wade remains out of work.

If you have a Positively Massachusetts story idea, contact Boston25 anchor Chris Flanagan at PositivelyMA@Boston25.com.