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Two Kalamazoo Residents Receive National Certificate of Merit

award recipients
On average, the Red Cross trains four million people every year

The American Red Cross will honor two individuals from the Kalamazoo area with the Certificate of Merit, for their efforts to save the life of another. The awards will be presented to Mitchell Taplin and Kevin Trayer on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at a ceremony at the Red Cross in Kalamazoo.

Mitchell Taplin, 15, was at a youth lock-in when his friend started choking on a piece of candy. Right away, Mitchell started performing abdominal thrusts on his friend until he coughed out the candy. Because of the Red Cross training Mitchell received, he was able to save his friend’s life.

Kevin Trayer, 53, is a Supervisor at a local Post Office. While at work one day this past January, Kevin received a phone call that a co-worker needed help. The co-worker had stopped breathing and collapsed. Kevin called 911 and performed CPR for several minutes before the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety arrived and took over with the help of an AED. Life EMS took Trayer’s co-worker to the hospital where he was released five days later. Trayer, also a retired EMT, had previously taken a Red Cross Adult CPR/AED and First Aid course and was able to save his co-worker that day because of the skills he learned in that class.

Only ninety Certificates of Merit are given out each year from the White House. Each bears the signature of the President of the United States, who is the organization’s honorary chairman, and is the highest award given to an individual who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge they learned from a Red Cross training course.

On average, the Red Cross trains four million people every year in Red Cross first aid, CPR and AED classes. For more information on how to get trained or get involved with the American Red Cross, visit: or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.