One May afternoon at the Jewish Community Center in Medford last year, a maintenance worker started to complain of chest pains. He quickly collapsed and fell unconscious. Staff members surrounding him immediately called 9-1-1.
Employee Kyle Winkler, a current nursing student as well as trained lifeguard and instructor with Katz JCC Aquatics program and aquatics supervisor at JCC Camps at Medford, happened to be on the camp site at the time and was nearby.
Kyle quickly assessed the situation and determined CPR was necessary. He began giving both chest compressions and rescue breaths. Other staff members helping were not trained with lifesaving skills, but Kyle gave them direction to help while he was performing CPR. At the same time, he provided the 9-1-1 dispatchers with more detailed information regarding the situation.
After continuing for a few minutes, Emergency Medical Services arrived on the scene and connected an AED. Multiple shocks were given to the victim and he was taken to a local hospital. At the hospital, it was uncertain what his survival chances were. On multiple occasions, the doctors and nurses who came into the waiting room told the group waiting that they were uncertain of the prognosis, but clear that without the CPR having been performed, the co-worker chances of survival would have been slim to none.
The co-worker did make a full recovery and returned to work at the JCC in Medford last July.
“Kyle used the training he received from the Red Cross when it was most necessary,” said Madhuri Rodriquez, executive director, American Red Cross of Southwestern New Jersey. “I’m so proud of how Kyle sprang into action, and thanks to that training, he knew exactly what to do and helped save a life.”
For his heroic and lifesaving actions, Kyle Winkler was honored at a gathering of family and friends by his co-workers at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill on Monday, April 29, 2019.
Rodriguez presented Kyle with the Certificate of Merit, the highest award given by the American Red Cross to an individual who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in a Red Cross Training Services course.
“Your action exemplifies the highest degree of concern of one human being for another who is in distress and we commend you for these actions,” Rodriguez told Kyle.
The Certificate of Merit bears the signature of the President of the United States, who traditionally serves as the Honorary Chairman of the American Red Cross, as well as the signature of American Red Cross Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter.
“I urge more people to take American Red Cross Training Services Courses in life-saving skills like first aid and CPR,” said Rodriguez. “Red Cross training gives you the knowledge and skills to act in an emergency and potentially save a life, just as Kyle has.”
The Red Cross has a variety of online, blended (online and in-person skills session) and classroom courses are available at redcross.org/takeaclass.
If you or someone you know has used skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Training Services course to help save or sustain the life of another individual, visit LifesavingAwards.org to nominate, recognize, or be inspired.