By Jennifer Costa, Communications Director, Red Cross Northern New England Region
“You never think it’s going to be that person next to you.”
Steve Sager, a seasoned line worker from northern Maine recounts a day he’ll never forget. It was February 2, 2022. Steve works for Versant Power. That morning he and several of his crew members attended a CPR, AED and First Aid refresher course.
“There’s no question of its importance. Every day in the job that we do, there are so many facets that could cause a situation where you would need CPR or First Aid training. You have to have it as a backbone,” said Sager.
After completing the training and breaking for lunch, the crew headed out to get a jump on the afternoon’s work. One team member got to the job site before the others and started preparing the work zone – setting up flaggers and shoveling snow. Then the unthinkable happened. Kevin Young’s heart stopped.
“Upon arriving we found him hunched over in a snowbank. He was unconscious,” Sager said. “That was our friend and our brother. Our training kicked in. You lose track of everything else around you and you focus. The dedication was there. We weren’t quitting no matter what.”
Sager along with Cameron Bragg, Scott Madore and Dan Morin were determined to save their colleague’s life on the side of that snowy road in Presque Isle, Maine. They called 911, started CPR and attached an AED. They defibrillated Young four times before EMS arrived.
“He is alive today thanks to their incredible efforts,” said Executive Director Caroline King, Red Cross Northern and Eastern Maine Chapter.
“It goes to show you that you never know when you are going to need it,” Sager said, adding that during his 21-year career with the power company, this was the first time he ever needed to use his CPR skills.
For their heroic actions, the American Red Cross honored these four individuals during a ceremony at Versant Power’s Annual Safety Awards.
“Each year the American Red Cross gives out Lifesaving Awards. This only the second time I’ve gotten to do it in northern Maine,” King said. “The Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action is given to individuals, like Steve Sager, Cameron Bragg, Scott Madore and Dan Morin, who step up in an emergency to help save or sustain a life. They exemplify the mission of the Red Cross to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. We commend each one for their willingness to help their colleague in distress,” King said.
Young sat beside his rescuers – not only alive but back to work thanks to the quick thinking and courageous actions of his “brothers.” Emotions ran high as they all embraced – and the enormity of the rescue sank in.
“I don’t feel like a hero – and none of the guys who were there with me do,” Sager said. “After that person has gone away in the ambulance, you reflect on what’s just happened. You sit there trying to think if you did everything right, but then you realize you did everything you could – and had you not had the CPR and First Aid training, you couldn’t have done it at all.”
Red Cross training gives people the knowledge and skills to act in an emergency and save a life. A variety of online, blended (online and in-person skills session) and classroom courses are available at redcross.org/takeaclass.
Do you know a hero who ought to be recognized for saving a life? Visit LifesavingAwards.org to nominate and recognize an individual or group of individuals who have used the skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Training Services course to help save or sustain a life.