One year to the day, Andy Kirby played in a golf tournament named in his honour to raise money for automated external defibrillators (AED).

The swift actions of a group that's become known as the 9th Hole Guardian Angels and a AED located in the clubhouse of the Cochrane Golf Club is credited with saving his life when he suffered a heart attack on the 9th green on Sept. 23, 2021.

It has since lead to a campaign by the Cochrane EMS Crisis Citizens Action Group to make more AEDs available in the community. Local paramedic Rob Sweeny compiled a list of where AEDs are currently located and is helping to determine where others should be placed.

But that takes money, so the Andy Kirby Legacy AED Charity Golf Tournament was created to raise funds. One was held in Calgary in August in support of a similar initiative there.

"I'm glad to be the excuse for people taking Friday afternoon off work to golf," says Kirby. "I'm glad to be here for sure."

Kirby returned to his sport of passion after successful heart surgery lead to his full recovery. He regularly swings the clubs at courses in the Calgary area on a regular basis, including the Cochrane course.

"It caught up with the staff and the guys that remembered me from laying on the 9th green and sent out the defibrillator to get my heart going again, so that was definitely a big help."

It's his third time on the local course this season, which is one of his favourites.

His son-in-law Kurtis Foote, the head teaching professional at the Valley Ridge Golf Academy, organized the Cochrane tournament. He says golfers participated from Cochrane, Calgary, and Canmore.

"We ended up with 52 golfers for our inaugural event, so not too bad. We would have loved to have seen a few more but we're very happy to start with 52 and grow from there."

He says the aim is to make it an annual tournament.


Andy foursomeAndy with his foursome on Hole 1 at the Cochrane Golf Club for the Sept. 23 touornament.
Brian WinterBrian Winter, chair of the Cochrane EMS Crisis Citzens Action Group, was the BBQ master at the pre-tournament barbecue.