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American Red Cross Honors Four Men Who Helped Save a Life in Le Mars

Red Cross Iowa Honors Four Men
Without a doubt, the skills Randy learned in the American Red Cross course helped save Mark's life.

Three Wells Enterprises employees and a Le Mars Police Officer were presented with lifesaving awards from the American Red Cross on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor in Le Mars, Iowa. The group used Red Cross skills including CPR and using an AED to save the life of Mark Ruba, a co-worker, who was in cardiac arrest.

On Wednesday, July 2, 2014, Ruba was walking up the sidewalk on his way into work at the Wells South Ice Cream Plant when he suffered a heart attack and collapsed.  Co-worker Dennis Sexton was driving by and witnessed Ruba collapse. He immediately rushed across the street to help. Sexton started CPR efforts and continued by himself for almost a full minute before he was joined by fellow Wells employee Randy Bock. 

Mr. Bock had witnessed Sexton performing CPR and called for help while responding to the scene. Both employees continued CPR for approximately four minutes after Ruba collapsed until a third co-worker Don Allaway, a certified EMT, arrived on the scene. 

Allaway took over primary care and, with the help of Bock, continued CPR. A minute later, Le Mars Police Officer Dan Plueger arrived with an automated external defibrillator (AED). Plueger applied the AED pads while CPR was being performed. They utilized the AED and shocked Ruba three times without success, but continued CPR care until the ambulance arrived and transported Ruba to the local hospital. 

It was through the combined life-saving efforts of Ruba’s co-workers, law enforcement and the ambulance crew that he made it to the hospital and survived! 

The Certificate of Merit is the highest award given by the American Red Cross. It bears the signature of the President of the United States. It is a national-level award recognizing community members who save or sustain a life using skills learned in Red Cross training. Honorees also receive a medal of honor that bears the Red Cross logo and the words, “Lifesaving Award of Merit.” Tammy Lee, Executive Director of the Red Cross of North and Western Iowa, presented Randy Bock with the Certificate of Merit during the presentation. 

"Without a doubt, the skills Randy learned in the American Red Cross course helped save Mark's life," Lee told the Le Mars Sentinel newspaper. 

The Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action is awarded to individuals who save or sustain a life by action that exemplifies the mission of the Red Cross.  Dennis Sexton, Don Allaway and Dan Plueger were presented with the Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action during the ceremony.  

“It was a skill that I hoped I’d never have to use, but fortunately, I knew how to do it,” Bock told Radio Iowa. “It appears I did everything correctly…Mark is here with us today. I’m glad I had the training.” Bock took CPR training from the Red Cross.

Last year, the American Red Cross of North and Western Iowa trained more than 8,100 people in lifesaving programs such as First Aid/CPR/AED, aquatics, and babysitting classes. People may enroll in a Red Cross CPR class near them by visiting redcross.org/take-a-class.