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Thousands Take Part in ‘Save-a-Life Saturday’

People all across the country came out Saturday to take lifesaving training from the American Red Cross during “Gabrielle Giffords Honorary Save-a-Life Saturday,” held to honor all those affected by the January 8 tragedy in Arizona.

Preliminary reports show more than 11,000 people received free Red Cross training in hands-only CPR and first aid at more than 100 different locations across the United States. The program was offered through the generous support of Walgreens and Safeway. Several bystanders in Tucson were trained in CPR and first aid and helped save the lives of many of the victims, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. “Save-a-Life Saturday” was held to remind people how important these skills are. Her office encouraged people to learn first aid and CPR.

More than 1,600 people took the training at six locations in the greater Tucson area. “We had many requests to offer this each year,” said Gloria Verdin from the Southern Arizona Red Cross Chapter. “We were truly pleased to provide these valuable skills to residents of southern Arizona.”

“It was a fantastic day,” said Linda Royal from the Greensboro Red Cross Chapter in North Carolina where 108 residents took the training. “We reached people that had never been exposed to CPR or first aid training before. Everyone was very thankful for the training. It was a very emotional day as so many people came together to learn how to save a life.”

Across the country, colleagues of Congresswoman Giffords participated in “Save-a-Life Saturday”. In Evansville, Indiana, Congressman Larry Bucshon (IN-08) thanked attendees for recognizing the need to know lifesaving skills. Congressmen Joseph Courtney (CT-02) and David Cicilline (RI-01) participated in the training in Farmington, Connecticut. In Akron, Ohio, Congresswoman Betty Sutton (OH-13), a friend of Gabrielle Giffords, participated in a class and gave a heartfelt testimonial about the value of the training. Congressman Tim Walz (MN-01) told attendees in Mankato, Minnesota that he would encourage his staff members to become certified.

The Red Cross offers training in first aid, CPR and the use of automatic external defibrillators (AED); teaches people of all ages how to swim and be safe around the water, and provides training for babysitters, nurse assistants and family caregivers.Those unable to attend the Save-a-Life Saturday trainings can visit the Red Cross web site or contact their local chapter for information on upcoming Red Cross classes.