Christopher Gibson of the Sierra Vista Applebee’s recently received the RMH Bright Award, recognizing his assisting a co-worker who experienced cardiac arrest while on shift.

The Bright Award is presented to employees who have made a significant contribution to a restaurant or a community and comes with a $1,000 check. RMH Franchise is the second-largest Applebee’s franchisee worldwide, with restaurants in 14 states, including Arizona.

Gibson, a Neighborhood Expert (a designation employees receive after mastering their position) has been working for Applebee’s since 2001. He previously worked in Augusta, Georgia, helping open a few restaurants in the area, and joined the Sierra Vista location in 2013. He worked there for one year, moved to Tucson, then returned to the SV Applebee’s, where he has worked for the past three years.

Gibson also worked for In Balance Ranch in Huachuca City, which specializes in assisting troubled youth. Gibson was a cook and was required to be certified in CPR.

On the day of the incident, Gibson saw that his co-worker appeared to be in pain. After some confusion on what was happening, Gibson said he followed his manager, Amy Fitzwater, and another employee who had helped assist the server.

The server was experiencing cardiac arrest in the back dock area.

“I was shocked,” Gibson said. “I had never seen (anybody) in that state. His whole body was blue.”

The manager had called 911, but Gibson said his manager encouraged him to perform CPR on his co-worker before emergency personnel arrived.

He said he was confident and knew exactly what to do.

“He was a friend of mine. I wasn’t going to let anything happen to him,” Gibson said.

Gibson received a phone call later that day from his co-worker in the hospital, thanking him for saving his life.

Gibson was given the award at a ceremony on Aug. 21. He said the ceremony was unexpected and he tried to hold back tears while being honored.

Gibson was grateful he had been working on that day to help save his co-worker.

“I have seen some things in my 39 years,” he said. “That right there is something I’ve never seen nor think I would be a part of.”