OAKLAND -- A 71-year-old Kensington bicyclist was pedaling his bike in Tilden Regional Park on a familiar long distance ride last summer when a heart attack struck him down on the road.
Farshid Rossoukhi was unconscious. He had stopped breathing. An East Bay Regional Park District police officer out on patrol found the cyclist on the side of a narrow and winding park road.
It was a lucky chance encounter that occurred toward the end of Rossoukhi's 57-mile bike trip on that July 15 Sunday afternoon.
After finding no pulse in the fallen cyclist, Officer William Deleon-Granados performed CPR, getting the man to start breathing again before Berkeley firefighters arrived with emergency help.
Rossoukhi spent several days in a hospital, but he survived and has resumed outdoor activities.
The cyclist and the police officer who saved him were reunited at a ceremony Tuesday in Oakland, where the East Bay Regional Park District honored Officer Deleon-Granados with a medal of distinction.
"We in police catch bad guys, write tickets, and do many things, but how often does an officer get to bring somebody back to life?" said Capt. Mark Ruppenthal of the district's department. "Officer Granados performed well during an emergency, and a man is alive because of it."
Rossoukhi told park officials Tuesday he was grateful for the rescue, but preferred not to be interviewed by the media.
The cyclist, a frequent bike rider in seemingly good health, had blocked arteries that he was unaware of until the near-fatal episode, said Emily Hopkins, a regional park district spokeswoman.
"He is going on a skiing trip next week," she added.
At the same ceremony Tuesday in Oakland, the regional park district also gave a medal of merit to Capt. Mark Ruppenthal for his help in trying to resuscitate a CHP officer fatally shot Sept. 4 last year after a traffic stop near Alamo. Kenyon Youngstrom later died, but first aid efforts by several people helped prolong his life and enabled relatives to see him in the hospital before he died, park officials said.
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.