Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Recognizing the Brave and Prepared: A Red Cross Certificates of Merit for Professional Rescuers Event

Written by Amy Yen, volunteer contributor
Photos by Ralph Navarro, volunteer contributor

Only about 30 percent of victims survive the particularly devastating heart attack known as the widow maker, which is cardiac arrest that comes from a blockage in the left main artery of the heart. David Neumann of Arlington, Texas is one of them, thanks to the quick action and training of several members of his church.

This weekend, the American Red Cross presented Certificates of Merit for Professional Rescuers awards to Anthony Hermosillo, Joshua Galmore and Marcela Long, three interns with the DFW Church of Christ who had been trained by the Red Cross as lifeguards, for their role in saving Dave Neumann’s life. Jose Diaz, Rob McKeown and Sherlynn McKeown, who also played important roles in the rescue, were recognized as well.

One day last June, Dave Neumann was arriving at a church event at Thousand Oaks Ranch when he collapsed as he started having a massive heart attack. Jose, Rob and Sherlynn were the first to find him on the ground. Jose raised his legs while Rob, who is a Colleyville fire marshal, and Sherlynn, who is a nurse, began administering CPR. Anthony, Joshua and Marcela, who had only three weeks before received professional rescuer training from the Red Cross, soon responded as well.

When he saw that Dave had stopped breathing, Anthony quickly ran to get the AED and shocked Dave’s heart three times.

“I felt prepared,” said Anthony. “I was just worried about helping Dave and I wasn’t really thinking about anything else. I just let the training and instincts take over.”

Meanwhile, Joshua ran back to the hall and told the nurses to keep the kids who were there for summer camp away from what was happening. He then sat with Dave’s wife Melinda and delivered one of the Red Cross’ hallmark services, emotional support, until the ambulance arrived 15 minutes later and Marcela directed EMTs to where Dave was.

At Sunday’s recognition service, the interns encouraged others to get the life-saving training they’d received.

“You never know what’s going to happen. We were trained as lifeguards but things can happen in and out of the water. It’s better to be prepared for anything,” said Anthony.

One person is certainly glad they had that training.

“I think everything happens for a reason,” said Dave. “Not many people survive the kind of heart attack I had. It’s called the widow maker for a reason. If it weren’t for them being there at the right time, I wouldn’t be here.”

To learn more about how to be trained as a professional rescuer or in first aid and CPR/AED, visit Red Cross Dallas.

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