Decorated veteran thanks local hospital staff for saving his life

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - A decorated war veteran was in town during football season last November when he started having chest pain.

When he stopped into Baylor Scott and White Health in College Station he ended up on the operating table.

On Monday Col. Jim Harding went back to visit the team he says saved his life.

"I walked in and said I needed a stronger medicine because my chest was hurting,” said Harding. “Two days later they had me wide open."

At the time Col. Harding didn't know it but his heart was failing.

A team rushed him to the operating room to undergo quadruple bypass surgery.

Col. Harding isn't just any war veteran, Doctors learned they had the life of our military's 25th most decorated man in their hands.

“My background is mostly as a fighter pilot, I didn’t do a lot of staff work, but I did an awful lot of flying.”

Jerry Webb, the Director of Nursing in Brenham, was in the operating room with the Colonel.

"I'm also a retired veteran,” said Webb. “Any opportunity I get to take care of one of our own is fantastic."

Now a man who’s been awarded four purple hearts has a new lease on his own heart.

"I know that the doctor does the cutting and pasting but the staff does the putting it back together,” said Harding. “That’s my main reason for coming back and thanking everybody for what they did for me."

Doctors say Colonel Harding's symptoms were unusual because they came on slowly. They suggest consulting a doctor if you ever experience intense chest pain.