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Building Stronger Communities by Preparing Together


The Kinsley Construction company in York, Pa., knows the value of preparation. Together with the American Red Cross, they have built a cadre of trained employees who can use their lifesaving skills on and off the job.

Kinsley Construction has five Red Cross-trained instructors on staff, and approximately 450-500 workers are trained annually in first aid and CPR. This training was put to good use several years ago, when two employees saved the life of a woman who was near one of their construction sites.

While driving home in November 2004, Vilma Thompson had difficulty breathing. She saw a woman flagging traffic for Kinsley Construction at a nearby intersection and pulled her car over. Thompson asked the woman to call 9-1-1 and find someone who was trained in CPR.

After the flagger told Tom Warfel that his help was needed, Warfel instructed his co-worker Ernest Brabham to drive over to the location on the median where Thompson had pulled over. Thompson passed out and stopped breathing, and as Brabham moved away to direct traffic, Warfel began CPR. Thompson began breathing again just as emergency services personnel arrived.

For this heroic act, Warfel was awarded the American Red Cross Certificate of Merit in 2005. This is the highest award given by the American Red Cross to an individual or team of individuals who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in a Red Cross Health and Safety Services course. Brabham received the Good Neighbor Award from the Red Cross York County Chapter for his role in that day’s events.

Without a doubt, the skills learned in the Red Cross Health and Safety Services course helped Warfel save a life. Now, Kinsley Construction is involved in another lifesaving effort: hosting blood drives for the Red Cross.

Kinsley’s inaugural drive was held in May, when they collected 50 units of blood and saw 29 first-time donors.

“As a first time donor, I didn’t know what to expect and, naturally, I was a little apprehensive,” said Kayla Resh, a member of Kinsley’s marketing department. “But the Red Cross workers made me very comfortable and the whole process went smoothly. And I feel great knowing that my donation may save the lives of up to three people!”

The company plans to hold several blood drives a year, with the next taking place on September 17. Hoping to beat their last collection total, they have increased their goal to 58 units—which could save more than 150 lives.

September is National Preparedness Month—you can help your community be prepared by giving blood and taking a Red Cross course.