Emergencies can happen to anyone, anytime. In these moments, it’s the trained individuals nearby who spring into action to save the lives of their family, friends and coworkers — whether it’s performing CPR after a cardiac arrest, administering first aid during an accident or rescuing someone from drowning.
In 2022, nearly 2,000 people used their Red Cross training to help others survive medical emergencies. Below are some of these community heroes, who were honored with a Red Cross Lifesaving Award this year.
STUDENT SAVES INFANT’S LIFE While Alexis Starnes was working at a childcare facility as part of her high school’s real-world experience program, a 7-month-old baby girl started choking during feeding. Using her Red Cross Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED training, Alexis placed the infant in the proper position, started giving back blows and quickly dislodged the piece of food. Grateful for her training, Alexis said now “the infant is a very happy and healthy baby.”
COACHES SAVE 17-YEAR-OLD FROM CARDIAC ARREST When 17-year-old Davis Dwight went into cardiac arrest at baseball practice, his coaches’ training kicked in as they quickly performed CPR until medical help arrived. “It happened in the blink of an eye, but it felt like an eternity,” said Coach Nikolaus Crouch. “We just kind of took it together, controlled it, did what we knew was best and just kept going for him.” Now that Davis has recovered, he, his family and coaches encourage others to get trained.
LIFEGUARD TEAM RESCUES WATER AEROBIC CLASS PARTICIPANT In Joliet, Illinois, Inwood Athletic Club lifeguards Julia Castillo and Cole Kics, along with Safety and Aquatics Superintendent Lauren Ryan, teamed up to save the life of Marge Bell after she collapsed during a group water aerobics class.
Julia noticed Marge in the water and immediately activated the facility’s emergency action plan. The two lifeguards placed her on a backboard, removed her from the water and assessed her condition. Marge was unresponsive, not breathing and didn’t have a pulse. Lauren started CPR and set up the automated external defibrillator (AED). The three continued to provide care until a local emergency medical services team arrived on the scene and took over.
“I was lucky to be where I was,” said Marge, grateful for the team who saved her life. “If you have a chance to learn CPR, I’d say learn it.”
GET TRAINED TO SAVE A LIFE Each year, the America Red Cross empowers an average of over 4.6 million people in first aid, water safety and other skills that help save lives. Sign up for a Red Cross CPR/AED/First Aid class in an online, in-person or blended format, download the free Red Cross First Aid app and activate the Red Cross First Aid Skill for Alexa-enabled devices for instant access on what to do for a variety of first aid scenarios, including performing CPR.
Nominate those who have used their skills and knowledge learned in a Red Cross Training Services course to help save or sustain a life by visiting LifesavingAwards.org.
This story is part of a special series on how people responded to crises in 2022 through the American Red Cross. Read our 2022 year-in-review press release to learn more.