In November of 2020, Pat Gunter of Topsail Beach, North Carolina, found herself in an unimaginable position after discovering her husband, John, motionless and unresponsive on their bedroom floor following a large crash.
Due to her quick thinking and training she’d received, Pat assessed the situation, called 911 and initiated CPR with support from the 911 dispatcher. Eventually, John began taking shallow ‘guppy’ breaths. When Officer Ryan Benway of the Topsail Beach Police Department reached the residence, he took over chest compressions until paramedics arrived.
For their heroic and lifesaving actions, Pat Gunter and Officer Ryan Benway received American Red Cross Lifesaving Awards at a ceremony on July 14, 2021, at the Topsail Beach Town Hall in Topsail Beach.
The Certificate of Merit is the highest award given by the Red Cross to individuals who save or sustain a life using skills learned in a Red Cross Training Services course. “We’re extremely proud to present a Certificate of Merit to Pat,” said James Jarvis, Executive Director, American Red Cross Cape Fear Chapter. “Her actions that evening exemplify our mission to help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.”
“The Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action is given to individuals, like Officer Benway, who step up in an emergency situation and help save or sustain a life,” said Jarvis. “He too exemplifies the mission of the Red Cross to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies and is to be commended for his quick thinking and willingness to help others in distress.”
In addition, CPR instructor James M. Seigh, who taught Pat CPR, was awarded the Lifesaving Instructor Award. This is one of the highest awards given by the Red Cross to instructors who teach the skills that help to save or sustain lives. See other inspiring stories or nominate someone for an award at lifesavingawards.org.
This holiday season give the gift of life by signing up for a Red Cross CPR/AED/First Aid class. The skills learned in these classes give you the tools to respond whenever and wherever an emergency may strike. Take an online or in-person course and download the free Red Cross First Aid app.