By Colleen Burns, American Red Cross in Greater New York
Amanda R. never imagined she would be using lifesaving skills just three weeks after training with the American Red Cross - much less be recognized by the organization, ‘for selfless and humane action in saving a life.’
Amanda is a manager for WeWork, a company that provides shared workspaces, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Last spring, she was at work when a colleague alerted her that someone was choking in his office. With little regard for her broken shoulder and sling, Amanda sprang into action
Calm with the knowledge from her recent Red Cross training, she approached the choking victim, immediately assigned someone to call 9-1-1 and began asking the individual some important questions about what happened and what he ate.
After these initial steps, Amanda realized she could not wrap her arms around him to perform the necessary abdominal thrusts due to her injured shoulder. With quick thinking, she moved the member over a chair and administered three back blows. Thankfully, the third blow dislodged the item that was blocking his airway. He could breathe again.
Fast-forward to Thursday, October 18 when Amanda was invited to the American Red Cross to receive her Certificate of Merit, the highest award given by the humanitarian organization to an individual who ‘sustains or saves a life by using skills and knowledge gained from a Red Cross Training Services course.’ Signed by the Chairman of the American Red Cross and the Honorary Chairman, the President of the United States, this recognition is a significant honor.
After receiving the award at the Red Cross Greater NY office, Amanda shared, “I am humbly honored. I feel that we all serve a purpose here, and I’m glad this was part of my story to share.” She added, “I couldn’t do this…I wouldn’t have been able to do this…I wouldn’t be standing here if it weren’t for the partnership with WeWork and the Red Cross and all the hard work that the Red Cross does to get this programming out there.”
Just three works before the incident, the security team at WeWork partnered with the Red Cross for a training program that included CPR/First Aid certification. As part of the course, students learned how to assist a choking victim.
“An event like this just shows why it’s so important to get certified. You never know when an incident may happen where you’re the only one that knows what to do,” said Amanda.
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.