MIAMI, FL (September 9, 2020) – On Friday, August 28, the Greater Miami & The Keys Chapter of the American Red Cross recognized University of Miami Employee Zachary Bemmel, with a Lifesaving Award for using Red Cross training and skills to save an individual’s life.
On November 8, 2019, Bemmel was walking into the back of the University of Miami Herbert Wellness Center in Coral Gables, Fla., when he suddenly witnessed a man collapse to the floor. He quickly approached the gentleman and assessed his breathing and pulse. Unfortunately, both were undetectable but luckily, Nicole Johnston, another individual present at the wellness center, arrived on the scene and called 911. While Bemmel began performing CPR, Johnston went to retrieve the AED. Both Bemmel and Johnston worked together to attach the AED and deliver a shock to the gentleman. Bemmel continued to perform CPR until Emergency Medical Services arrived.
Due to Bemmel’s swift action and skills learned in an American Red Cross Training Services course, he was able to help save the gentleman’s life.
For his heroic actions, Bemmel has been awarded the American Red Cross Certificate of Merit. This is the highest award given by the American Red Cross to an individual or team of individuals who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Training Services course. The certificate bears the signature of the President of the United States, who is the honorary chairman of the American Red Cross, and the signature of the chairman of the American Red Cross.
Bemmel was awarded the Certificate of Merit during a ceremony at the Herbert Wellness Center among University and Red Cross staff as well as his colleagues, friends, and family.
“We are proud to honor Zac for his heroic actions. His quick response and training prepared him for this moment, and we hope others will be inspired to learn the same lifesaving skills,” said Deborah Koch, executive director for the Chapter. “Our community is stronger when we have more people who are trained and ready to act.”
During the Ceremony, Connie Nickel, the Associate Director of Wellness and Recreation at the Herbert Wellness Center said, “I think it is well deserved and I’m excited that there is such an award for people who actually do the work you hear about all the time.” Nickel nominated Bemmel for the Lifesaving Award after hearing the story from a colleague.
For the past eight years, Bemmel has been certified in CPR and continues to express the importance of learning these basic skills that can make a difference in someone’s life.
He shares, “It happened so fast and I didn’t have a chance to be worried about it or nervous or anything, it is just go into action.” He adds that “everyone should get their certification […] and stay on top of [their] training throughout [their] certification.”
Take a First Aid and CPR Course online to learn what to do in case emergency help is delayed.
A variety of online, blended (online and in-person skills session) and classroom courses are also available. To learn more and get started, visit redcross.org/takeaclass.
If you know of a local hero in your community or group of individuals who used Red Cross skills or training to save or sustain a life, you can nominate them at LifesavingAwards.org.
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 redcross.org/southflorida or visit us on Facebook or Twitter at @SFLRedCross.