According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), currently, about 9 in 10 people who experience cardiac arrest outside the hospital die. Despite being a dismal statistic, the CDC also cites that with bystander intervention through CPR the odds of survival greatly increase. In fact, it is reported by the CDC that CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest.
Veteran’s Life Saved on Veterans Day
On Veterans Day, 2020, these statistics became a reality for one United States veteran, in particular. While gathered at Arlington National Cemetery, honoring the nation’s veterans through the annual wreath laying ceremony, a man in the crowd collapsed. His breathing stopped and he lay on the ground unconscious while a group of people gathered around.
The commotion caught the attention of Hollyanne Milley. Milley, a Red Cross volunteer, military spouse to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley and a CPR-certified nurse, sprang into action. She assessed the emergency then directed someone to call 911. She then administered two cycles of CPR. This quick thinking and swift, deliberate action saved the veteran’s life.
Today, Milley happily reports that the veteran is doing well and has become a good friend. Gen. Milley, who witnessed the lifesaving event shares that the veteran has recovered. “We’ve contacted that individual and he’s doing well and is very thankful. He told us Hollyanne is his guardian angel. She has done this a dozen times or so out in civil society. She saved my dad three different times. My message is to anyone who wants to learn CPR or lifesaving skills – the skills are critical. You just never know when they’re going to be needed and Hollyanne is a living example of this.”
Red Cross Lifesaving Award Presented
Recently, to commemorate and honor this lifesaving event, the American Red Cross presented Hollyanne Milley with the Certificate of Personal Extraordinary Action. The Red Cross Lifesaving Awards program has a long-storied history, with its roots going as far back as 1911. For over 100 years, awards have been issued to provide recognition to those, who in a time of an emergency, have used their lifesaving skills or knowledge to save or sustain a life. These recipients truly embody the mission and values of the Red Cross.
Milley shared that she was, “very humbled to receive this distinguished award and am honored to be a Red Cross volunteer.” She also shared that the Red Cross has been a part of her life for a long time and she was honored to share in a rich tradition of lifesaving Red Crossers, including Red Cross founder – Clara Barton. When asked to share a message, Milley encouraged, “Red Cross is one of several organizations that offers CPR classes all over the world. Take a CPR class, you never know, you could save a life.”
The Red Cross continues to provide lifesaving training during this critical time. In-person courses have been modified to include social distancing, face masks, virtual training and certification extensions. Online offerings are also available.