On Friday, July 17, the American Red Cross presented Lifesaver Awards to two Colorado residents who both used their Red Cross training to save lives in two separate incidents.
Eric Myers, Executive Director of the Red Cross of Western Colorado, presented a Lifesaver Award to Anson Lemmer at Uncle Pizza in Glenwood Springs and to Todd Nelson at Kremmling Town hall.
Anson, 19, was working a summer job as a pizza deliveryman for Uncle Pizza in Glenwood Springs on June 15, 2015, when he went out for the last delivery of the night. As he pulled up to a home, he came across four men standing over a man sprawled on the ground. The man was blue in the face and wasn’t breathing, and one of the bystanders was attempting CPR.
Anson pulled over and ran to help. “They asked if I knew CPR, and it turned out I did,” Anson recalled. He had learned CPR and first aid several years earlier through a Red Cross babysitter training course that he took so that he could watch his younger siblings and babysit other children in the neighborhood.
Anson started compressions on the man and continued them until emergency responders arrived. Even after emergency responders joined the scene, Anson continued compressions while they provided rescue breaths. Soon enough, they successfully revived the man and he stood up.
“It’s just something that I needed to do and I knew what to do in that situation,” Anson said. “I knew I had to act quickly and I focused on that and getting it done.”
Todd Nelson was driving along Highway 9 to his home in Kremmling on June 22, 2015, he noticed a large and unusual dust plume rising from an embankment of Green Mountain Reservoir. Sensing that something was wrong, he pulled over and saw tire tracks leading over the embankment, and realized that someone had tumbled their vehicle off the highway and into the reservoir.
The vehicle was half-submerged, and Todd saw a man floating face-down in the water nearby. The accident had happened in an area with no cell phone reception, and Todd knew he had to act because it would be too late if he waited for someone to alert emergency responders.
Todd first flagged down a passing motorist and told them to call 911 when they reached an area with cell service. Then he emptied his pockets, removed excess clothing and swam out to rescue the man. Relying on Red Cross lifeguard training he received as a teenager, Todd safely pulled the man to shore and began chest compressions. Within a short time, the man began to moan and gained consciousness. Paramedics arrived and took the man to the hospital.
“It just sort of kicked in what I learned when I was 14,” said Todd, who is in his early 50s now. He was surprised and pleased how much of his training came back to him so many years later.
Todd said many people have been surprised that he stepped up to help a stranger in need. “I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘I didn’t think anyone would do that for anyone any more.’” He offered this message: Get trained and don’t be a bystander. “You just can’t be afraid to give it yourself.”