SWANTON — “I could have stayed there and just died there,” John Winters said, face down in the snow, barely conscious outside his Swanton home.

It was Feb. 12, during the last great snowstorm, when Winters had his first heart attack, and nearly his last. Hours later, at the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVM), his heart stopped. Twice.

“The doctors I saw, the nurses… every one of them said if it wasn’t for Dean being there, and stopping, and doing what he did… I wouldn’t be alive.”

That’s Dean Ryan, a Swanton Village employee. Ryan was driving a plow truck that morning.

“Whenever I’m out there plowing, I usually see John out there, shoveling or snow blowing,” Ryan said. “His dog’s running around, so I always watch out for him.”

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