Issaquah man’s rescuer is named Red Cross hero

April 3, 2012

By Sarah Gerdes

Dixie Trombly and Don Trombly (from left) are thankful for Greg Gorske and Todd Short, who saved Don’s life. Short received the Medical Rescue Award from the American Red Cross on March 27. By Sarah Gerdes

During the annual Red Cross Heroes awards March 27, Todd Short humbly accepted the Medical Rescue Award, for saving the life of Issaquah resident Don Trombly.

As Short graciously accepted the award from Craig Hendrickson, CEO of Overlake Hospital Medical Center, Trombly nodded.

“He’s our guardian angel,” Dixie Trombly, Don’s wife of 50 years, said of Short, her eyes welling up with tears.

Just a regular day

Don and Dixie Trombly have lived in Issaquah for 60 years, visiting Redmond once a week to stop by the Great Harvest Bread Co., relax and let their dog roam free in a park. While they were in their car, Dixie noticed her husband suddenly exhaled.

“He gave one huff of air, then one more, and I thought that was it,” Dixie Trombly said. “He’s just died in my car.”

She saw a man in his parked truck beside her, so she rolled down the window and shouted for help. The man, Greg Gorske, a regular at Great Harvest, dropped what he was eating, peered in the window and ran into the store to get the address.

Short, an off-duty EMT and firefighter in Redmond, happened to be in line inside the store. He sensed the urgency of the situation, and followed Gorske outside. It took both men to remove Don from the vehicle and onto the ground. Short provided CPR until Don came around.

Another 50 years

Dixie said her life would be over without her husband by her side.

“I don’t know what I’d do if he were to have left me,” she said, tearing up as she recounted the story.

“Every day, I thank God that my guardian angel was there to save Don,” Dixie said, reaching her hand out for Todd. “That’s what I call him. Our guardian angel.”

Don later had triple-bypass surgery, and today is back to his routines.

Short is humble about his role in the affair, saying he “didn’t do anything another person wouldn’t have done.”

When it was his turn at the podium, Don said simply, “Thank you. I’m glad to be here.”

The couple will never forget the kindness of complete strangers, and the vital role Gorske and Short played in their lives.

“How can we forget them?” Dixie asked. “I want another 50 years with Don, and we’ll be thinking of Todd and Greg the entire time.”

Sarah Gerdes is a freelance writer. Comment at

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