SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — A young girl who suffered cardiac arrest at a Sevier County waterpark last year was reunited with the first responders and staff that helped save her when they were recently honored for their life-saving heroics.

Callan Glarum was waiting in line for a water slide at Dollywood’s Splash Country when she went into cardiac arrest on June 21, 2022. Sevier County EMS Director Rick Valentine said that first responders arrived at the scene within six minutes of receiving the 911 call.

“The rapid action of the Dollywood Aquatics and Safety team began the initial care of the patient. They applied an AED, and automated external defibrillator, which delivered a shock, and the child had a spontaneous return of circulation,” Valentine said. “EMS crew rapidly got the patient, secured them in the ambulance, and then they transported the patient emergently to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital for care.”

Glarum ended up having an underlying heart issue which has since been resolved.

Almost a year later, those who helped save her have been honored with a Star of Life Award as part of the Children’s Emergency Care Alliance of Tennessee.

“The award is just a compliment, so to speak, of what we’ve done,” Critical Care Paramedic Justin Stalsworth said. “But we all do it every day. Every service around here, every employee around here does the same job and we want the same outcome for every patient.”

Glarum was at the ceremony with her family.

“It was all smiles when we were in Lebanon at the Star of Life Awards,” said Tony Owens, an Advanced EMT who was also at the scene. “It was great to see her healthy with the best outcome that we could hope for for her. “

A reunion and a smile were all possible because of the quick actions of Dollywood staff and first responders. Sevier County EMS urges everybody to learn CPR. That is part of what helped save her life and it could save others. 

Sevier County EMS also said typically these types of cardiac events occur in older adults, not children, which made this situation more challenging.

Splash Country staff and Sevier County first responders received one of 8 Star of Life Awards that were awarded across the state.