Two Pensacola Coca-Cola employees honored for saving co-workers life

Northwest Florida

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Two Pensacola Coca-Cola employees are being hailed heroes for saving their co-worker’s life while on the clock.

Fountain installers Austin Beck, Brian Freeman and Peter Martinez were on their way to a service call at AJ’s Seafood Chicken & Grill on Sept. 9 when Beck noticed Martinez wasn’t his “typical happy-go-lucky self.”

“When we arrived at the job site, (Martinez) walked over to the grassy area and threw up,” Beck said. “I asked him if he was feeling alright and whether he needed to go home, but he said he would try to make it through the day. I knew from there that I needed to keep an eye on him.”

Beck stayed close to Martinez as they worked, then Beck heard Martinez exclaim, “Oh, wow!”

“Then I heard a little bit of ruckus. I turned the corner and (Martinez) was hunched over,” Beck said. “I rolled him over into my arms and his eyes were rolled back in his head. He was gasping for air,” Beck said. “I called out to (Freeman), and he called 911.”

With 911 on the line, Beck and Freeman checked Martinez’s breathing by holding his glasses to his mouth to see if his breath fogged the lenses. The men noticed Martinez’s breathing was abnormal, his skin was pale and his lips were slightly blue. They were advised to initiate CPR immediately. Freeman, a former volunteer firefighter, administered CPR.

“My goal was to revive him so he’ll be here tomorrow,” Freeman said. “I was seeing somebody in trouble who needed help. You help who needs be help and you don’t think twice about it.”

Freeman continued CPR until an ambulance arrived and transported Martinez to a local hospital. It was later determined that Martinez had suffered a heart attack.

“I don’t remember anything. I don’t remember going to work that morning. I woke up three days later wondering why I was in the hospital,” said Martinez, who is now recovering at home. “Austin and Brian saved my life. That’s the long and the short of it. If not for their quick action and level-headed thinking, I might not be sitting here today.”

Beck and Freeman are grateful that their teammate is on the mend, and both say they did what anyone else would have done in that situation.

“Pete and I work side by side every day, so seeing him that way was one of the scariest things I’ve been through,” Beck said. “We’re just glad that we were able to help, and that he’s OK.”

From left: Coca-Cola UNITED Sun Coast Division Service Division Manager Steve Langham, Coca-Cola UNITED Sun Coast Division Director Steve Wood, Freeman, Martinez, Beck and Pensacola Coca-Cola Sales Center Manager Dan Gilliand. (Photo credit: Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, Inc.)

Steve Langham, service division manager at Pensacola Coca-Cola, can’t say he’s surprised by Beck and Freeman’s actions, as they exemplify the company’s core values — Quality, Excellence, Integrity and Respect.

“Our core values not only say who we are, they guide us in everything we do,” Langham said in a press release. “We couldn’t be more proud of these gentlemen, and we are proud to call Austin, Brian and Peter members of our Coca-Cola UNITED family.”

Pensacola Coca-Cola is a sales and distribution center of Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. (UNITED), the third-largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the U.S., headquartered in Birmingham, Ala. The company recognized Beck and Freeman’s efforts by presenting them each with a Lifesaving Valor Award “for outstanding performance and heroic action in saving the life of Peter Martinez.” A ceremony was held at Pensacola Coca-Cola on Oct. 12.

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