Fearing a “grim” end, Dockmaster appreciative of “miracle” life-saving efforts

Published 8:00 am Saturday, June 22, 2024

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Sunday morning (June 16) started out like any other for Washington waterfront Dockmaster Rick Brass, 74, of Washington. He wanted to get to the docks a little early to help boats move from one slip to another. 

Little did he know that by the afternoon, he would need life-saving CPR from a stranger. 

Brass suffered an apparent heart attack near the Dockmaster station at around 12:30 p.m., according to his significant other, Sue Alexander. 

Brass was on a finger pier when he collapsed. A nearby couple raced toward him to stabilize him and cushion his head. A woman, on her daily walk saw Brass collapsed ten feet in front of her. She too ran to him and did CPR for approximately ten minutes until a Washington police officer arrived to assist her. Brass was initially transported to ECU Health Beaufort, but was later taken to ECU Health Medical Center’s Heart Institute in Greenville by medevac. 

It appeared the day would have a “grim” ending, Alexander described; however, what actually took place was nothing short of a “miracle.” 

“I’m not overly religious. I am very spiritual, but this whole thing has made me believe that there are miracles and people walking around that are utter angels,” Alexander said. 

Included in that description is Brass waking up on Monday morning. Alexander said when she went to visit him, he was awake and conversing with a friend. 

At this time, medical professionals and Alexander believe the heart attack stemmed from a type of cancer Brass is battling – Multiple Myeloma, a rare type of blood cancer that affects the white blood cells in the bone marrow. 

Brass remains at ECU Health Medical Center Heart Institute and is waiting on a treatment plan from his healthcare team. 

On Sunday night, Alexander informed Washington residents of what happened that afternoon via a post on Washington NC – What’s Happening. Since then, the post and subsequent posts about his condition have received hundreds of reactions and comments from people wishing him well and praying for him. Seeing the outpouring of support and encouragement from fellow Washingtonians has “meant a lot” to Brass and Alexander, she said. 

She was touched by the number of people in the comments saying that Brass’ medical miracle has inspired them to learn CPR. 

For information on where to find CPR classes, visit: https://www.redcross.org/local/north-carolina/take-a-class/cpr 

Brass became the Washington waterfront Dockmaster in December of 2013. He takes his job very seriously and sees himself as an “ambassador of Washington” to the many people from around the globe who sail into the city, Alexander said.