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Red Cross South Plains Presents Highest Honor to Local Lifesaver

LUBBOCK, TEXAS — Last November, Natalie Steadman was in the right place at the right time. Larry Martinez, a freelance photographer, fainted on the sidelines after his heart stopped during the Petersburg vs. Ropes bi-district high school football game in Anton, Texas. Steadman heard her name being shouted, and as people cleared out of the way, she looked down and saw Martinez face down in the grass. She immediately ran over and then instructed someone to get the Littlefield EMS from the other side of the field. Steadman’s next actions made her the first Lubbock resident to receive The National Certificate of Merit, a hand signed award from the President of the United States presented to an individual who uses Red Cross CPR and First Aid training to save or sustain a life.

Steadman, an assistant professor in the Master of Athletic Training Program at Texas Tech’s Health Sciences Center, first thought to use the automated external defibrillator to shock his heart. After the AED shocked Martinez, Steadman continued CPR, doing 60 compressions. Martinez’s eyes opened and then he was loaded in the back of the ambulance.

“I mentally prepare to do CPR before every game and with the skills I learned from the Red Cross and practiced, I was able to save Larry’s life,” Steadman said. Martinez suffered a cardiac arrhythmia and now has an internal defibrillator implanted in his chest.

“Training and preparation is key in any emergency situation. Natalie’s skills were literally put to the test, unexpectedly,” said Shannon Smith, executive director of the American Red Cross South Plains Chapter. “Larry’s life and purpose continues with the skill set and training Natalie has gained through the Red Cross public health and safety program in First Aid, CPR and AED.”

Because of Steadman’s lifesaving success, the American Red Cross North Texas territory service delivery manager, Teresa Filkins, on behalf of the President of the United States, presented Natalie Steadman with the American Red Cross National Certificate of Merit, the highest lifesaving award given by the Red Cross, this past Monday, March 11.

The American Red Cross South Plains Chapter trains more than 7,500 people a year in lifesaving skills such as CPR and First Aid.

The Red Cross urges residents to learn CPR and First Aid. Don’t wait until after an emergency to learn these vital lifesaving skills. The life you save may be that of a friend of family member.

The Red Cross offers courses in not only First Aid but also adult and infant CPR to help you and your family respond to emergencies. Workplace safety training, which includes CPR and First Aid, is also available to local businesses and their employees to help them recognize and respond to emergencies in the workplace. To enroll in any Red Cross health and safety course, 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 join our blog at