When you respond to a medical emergency and provide life-sustaining care, we are all inspired to greater acts of human kindness. It is with deep pride we recognize individuals who have made the difference in the life of another. To these heroes we convey our gratitude for their compassion and quick response in time of crisis.

Father Saves Son from Choking in North Carolina

Thank you, ASHI Instructor Charles Damanti of Emergency Educational Training in Clayton, North Carolina, for submitting this story about his quick-thinking student who used his training to save his son from choking.

Rob Skrypek and 10-year-old son John were staying in a hotel on March 16, 2012, getting ready to attend a motocross race. It was around 6 in the morning, and young John was enjoying some hard candies in the hotel lobby while dad Rob was getting breakfast for the two of them in the hotel breakfast nook. Rob heard choking and went to investigate.

Rob found what every parent fears; his son had his hands around his neck and was beginning to turn blue. Rob asked John if he was choking and the boy nodded. In Rob’s words, “I immediately had the hotel clerk call 911 while I attempted to dislodge the candy from [John’s] throat. I grabbed him from behind and I did abdominal thrusts. The first two attempts were not successful. I swept inside his mouth and could feel the candy. I administered another thrust and this caused the hard candy finally to come out. John fell to the floor. I held him in my arms and asked if he could breathe, he said yes and his coloring returned to normal.”

And, in true 10-year-old style, when asked about their plans for the day, John still wanted to go racing. Father and son made the race, but Rob reports that John’s enthusiasm for hard candy has greatly diminished since that day.

Air National Guardsman Rescues Gym Patron

ASHI Instructor Kenneth J. Welliver shares a story of how his ASHI class on December 3, 2011 resulted in a saved life a mere four months later.

On April 7, 2012, while at Gold's Gym in Newburgh, New York, Technical Sergeant Keith Heintz (105th Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard) witnessed a gentleman who was exercising suddenly collapse to the floor.

TSgt. Heintz immediately went to his aid. After a quick assessment, he concluded the patient had stopped breathing and began CPR. An AED was summoned and 911 was notified. With assistance from another bystander, the AED was attached to the patient, and one shock was delivered. More CPR followed and a second shock was advised. After the second shock, the patient began to breathe again. TSgt Heintz continued to monitor the patient until the arrival of EMS and fire department resources.

The patient was transported to a local hospital where he underwent bypass surgery and has since recovered. TSgt Heintz credits the instruction he received from attending an ASHI CPR class at Stewart ANGB for his ability to act quickly and with confidence in this life-threatening emergency.

Thank you, Kenneth, for sharing this moving story with us.

The Simple Moment of Compassion

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Thanks to MEDIC First Aid Instructor James Perkins of bus, light rail, and commuter rail transit service TriMet of Portland, Oregon, for sharing a short but meaningful story about one of his students.

On September 26, 2012, Robert Bartels and two of his TriMet co-workers came across a person lying halfway on a driveway and halfway in the street. The patient was confused and complained of chest pain.

Robert, who was trained through a MEDIC First Aid program just a few weeks prior on August 10, remembered his training and chose to perform the most basic steps of emergency care. He called 911 and waited until EMS arrived and transported the patient to a nearby medical facility.

It’s good to be reminded of how simple, yet how important, it is to get involved and do the right thing. Thanks, Robert, for taking the time out of your busy workday to remain with your patient until professional care arrived. Your willingness to respond may very well have saved a life.

Corrections Officer Saves Inmate in Florida


Thanks to ASHI Instructor Yvonne Ball for sharing a rescue story from Orlando, Florida.

Orange County Corrections Officer Robert Miner saw an inmate in distress in the dining area of the Horizon Facility on December 16, 2012. The inmate was choking and having difficulty breathing. Officer Miner applied abdominal thrusts as the man became unresponsive. The quick-thinking officer continued inward and upward thrusts until a piece of hot dog was expelled from the inmate’s throat.

Due to Officer Miner’s quick actions, the inmate has made a full recovery and has no injuries.

Coming to a Co-Worker’s Aid at a Tennessee Chemical Company

Thanks to Nominator David Richardson and ASHI Instructor Aaron Anderson for this story of an employee rescue.

On August 28, 2012 at the Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee, Ralph Young was just returning from lunch. He had parked in the lot near Building 78 when he saw an individual lying face down on the pavement.

He carefully turned the gentleman over onto his back to assess for breathing. The patient was not; so Mr. Young called 911 and started CPR, administering compressions until the emergency crews arrived.

David Richardson sums it up perfectly, “Because of [Ralph’s] quick action, the individual is alive today.”

Compassionate, Lifesaving Care for Shelter Resident

Harold Evans, Jr. of the SCO Family of Services of New York, lets us know about Tamara Turner and her heroic actions at one of the organization’s homeless shelters.

On September 10, 2012, Tamara responded to the dining room at the shelter for a resident who was choking. She took immediate action, performing abdominal thrusts and clearing the resident’s airway.

Thank you, Tamara, for your willingness to respond to someone in need.

Bystander Response Leads to a Career in Emergency Care

Edward McConville, Cardiac Resources LLC of Tulsa, Oklahoma, shares the story of how Tammy Reather became an ASHI Instructor.

In October, 2007, Tammy had just left work at St. Francis Hospital. She picked up her daughters and took them to soccer practice. As her girls left the minivan and ran off toward the soccer field, Tammy was on the phone with her husband. Suddenly she dropped the phone and became unresponsive.

She had experienced a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

Tammy’s foot was on the gas pedal and the revving of the engine caught the attention of several bystanders, but nobody would open her vehicle door. Fortunately, there was a physician who had just pulled into the parking lot. He was flagged down and subsequently pulled Tammy out of the vehicle. He immediately began CPR until Emergency Medical Services Authority paramedics arrived. Tammy was defibrillated four times before she had a return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). She was transported to the hospital and remained in the CICU for 4 days before being discharged with an internal cardiac defibrillator (ICD).

Tammy credits effective bystander CPR and excellent medical care from the ambulance paramedics and first responders for saving her life that day. Today, she is a dedicated ASHI CPR instructor with Cardiac Resources. She is also the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association Tulsa Chapter Leader and is a frequent speaker at public and private events. She has been seen on television advocating the importance of CPR and AED training.

AED Rescue Brings Together Police, Utility Crew in Florida

On Wednesday, August 1, 2012, Deputy Billy Metcalf Metcalf of the Wakulla County Sherriff's Office in Florida was dispatched to investigate a downed power line. When he arrived, he discovered a tree had fallen across the power lines and also noticed a woman inside a vehicle in a nearby driveway. A member of the Progress Energy work crew later observed the woman experiencing health issues and summoned Deputy Metcalf, who assessed that the woman was no longer breathing.

He radioed for Wakulla EMS and Fire Rescue to come to the scene and went to his patrol vehicle to retrieve his Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). When prompted by the AED, Deputy Metcalf administered a shock and began CPR, assisted by the resident who reported the downed power lines as well as one of the Progress Energy linemen.

Fire Rescue Battalion Chief and paramedic Joey Tillman answered the call for additional help from his home just a few blocks away. Together this team of first responders was able to successfully treat the victim until Advanced Life Service paramedics could arrive. EMS transferred the woman to a medical helicopter where she was transported to a Tallahassee hospital. Deputy Metcalf’s presence of mind to rapidly deploy the AED was a direct cause of the successful resuscitation of this citizen, who survived her ordeal.

The AED equipment was purchased using grant money from the State of Florida EMS Division several years ago and is carried in all of the Wakulla Sheriff’s Office road patrol vehicles.

This story was submitted by ASHI authorized Instructor Lt. Fred Nichols, also of the Sheriff’s Office. Lt. Nichols trained Deputy Metcalf.

Calm and Easy Does It for First Aid Good Sam

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Kelsey was the camp coordinator for a city summer camp. On July 9, 2012, while chaperoning a group of kids on a visit at a local lake, one of the young campers got a large fish hook embedded in their leg. Kelsey’s training in first aid helped her keep the injured child and other children calm, and allowed her to render aid and have the child transported via EMS to the Emergency Room. The hook was removed and all was well.

Thanks, Kelsey, for keeping everyone cool during a traumatic summer camp moment.

Thanks to ASHI Instructor Ed Brewer of Emergency Training Concepts for sharing this story of Kelsey Brewer who came to the aid of a child at a summer camp in Richfield, OH.

A Save in the Home

ASHI Instructor Mary Rose gives some well-deserved acknowledgment to Tyler Wright of Challis, Idaho for his life-saving response to a family member.

On August 18, 2012, Tyler’s father-in-law collapsed. Tyler did a primary assessment as he was trained to do, and discovered his father-in-law was not breathing. After instructing his wife to call 911, Tyler removed the patient’s shirt and began compressions. After about 2-3 minutes, the patient began to breathe on his own as the paramedics arrived.

Instructor Rose reports that the gentleman has been released from the hospital and is doing fine, “thanking his son-in-law for his life.”

Quick Thinking Officers Save a Life with AED

ASHI Instructor J.T. Coyne and Barbara Lawson of Heart Safe La Plata share the story of Officers Robert Taylor and David Longenette who proved the value of an AED last month at a diner in Durango, CO.

On August 24, 2012, a bystander was performing CPR when Police Officers Taylor & Longenette arrived on the scene with an automated external defibrillator (AED). The officers delivered two shocks. EMS then arrived and took over the scene and the patient was resuscitated.

As Barbara puts it so well, “This was a classic case of community involvement from the bystander who provided initial CPR to police responding with their AED, and EMS arriving to transport patient to the hospital.”

Thank you to everyone involved for his or her heroic actions and outstanding teamwork.

Taking All the Right Steps Contributes to a Save at the Durango Mountain Resort

Barbara Lawson of Heart Safe La Plata submits a story about ASHI-trained Cherie Naffziger, who saved a life on August 10, 2012.

According to the record in the automated external defibrillator (AED) used at the scene, the patient did suffer a full cardiac arrest at the resort. The AED did not advise a shock in this instance, however, in Barbara’s words, “The initial data shows a very slow, probably nonperfusing escape-type rhythm that improved after a few minutes of CPR, likely into something that was perfusing again. This kind of save does not happen very often and Cherie deserves an award for her efforts.”

We couldn’t agree more and were proud to send Cherie an ASHI Good Samaritan certificate.

We hope you’ll give us that chance as well whenever one of your students courageously steps forward to come to the aid of someone experiencing a medical emergency. You can nominate them using the link on this page.

Stepping Forward from the Crowd

When Park Ranger Aide Jesse Antunez suffered a choking incident, his rescuer was also his friend and his ASHI Instructor. Mr. Antunez shared with ASHI the note he sent to Instructor Carl Dougherty, Jr., which begins with a heartfelt comment, “I'm writing you today to say thank you for saving me from choking. I know we have known each other a while, and have worked at the same places, but I feel this was above and beyond, as your training and medical knowledge made the difference this day. I wanted your company to know the quality of person you are.”

Jesse was taking a break from his duties and having dinner at a local mall where he spotted Carl and joined him. During their meal, Jesse began to choke. Quick to come to the rescue, Carl applied abdominal thrusts, which was challenging with the utility vest of Jesse’s uniform. After several thrusts, the airway was cleared.

During the incident, Jesse himself tried to radio for EMS help, but was unable to switch the radio to the correct channel. Carl stayed in touch with Jesse for the next few days, checking in to be sure all was well.

Let’s let Jesse have the last words, “Lucky for me you were there and knew what to do. Others in the restaurant just stood there and offered no assistance….I truly appreciate your help as does my family. This really goes to prove your training is valuable—you just never know when, where, or who it may be use to save. Thanks again my friend. You are a true professional in what you do.”

Lessons of the Road—“You don’t know who you are until you show up”

Tim Lawrence, Director of a Michigan H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) club, reports on the amazing effort of his riders when they had an opportunity to be heroes during a group ride in the country.  He credits MEDIC First Aid Instructors Barb Rigden and Linda Gums for giving them the confidence to respond. Here’s Tim’s story:

“It’s amazing what we can learn about each other and ourselves when faced with adversity. As Director I am charged with many duties and responsibilities, but nothing prepared me for the events that transpired Friday afternoon in the North Woods.

That day started as a typical group ride, laughter, bravado, and some macho behavior. We found ourselves on a beautiful winding, scenic road when out of nowhere the beauty turned to horror. We happened upon a man lying motionless on the side of the road still grasping his bicycle. Immediately we pulled to the side as a group to render aid and what happened next was truly amazing.

With the blink of an eye, the well-oiled machine known as Accident Scene Management deployed as if we practiced together for years. The Ride leader promptly shut down the road in front and the Sweeper closed the rear instantly. While they secured the scene four of us ran to the side of the man (we found later his name was Mark). It was determined immediately that he had no pulse; I announced to a man that also happened along “she is a nurse”! He quickly replied, “I am a doctor”. What a relief; this guy has a chance!

Under the direction of the Doctor I quickly stabilized Mark’s neck and checked for signs of trauma, someone then shouted start CPR! And they were off. After what seemed like hours I felt the most miraculous thing ever, a pulse! Not just a pulse, a strong one. Wow! I thought he’s going to make it but then as quickly as it came, it left. They continued CPR as I kept yelling for Mark not to give up! 15 minutes went by [with rescuers] changing positions as not to tire, and the chest compressions continued.The sheriff was the first on the scene and gave us his defibrillator, which Jeryl took the lead on immediately.

In the distance we heard ALS and Fire racing to the scene; when they pulled up, the first thing they said was “keep going, continue CPR”! Huh? Apparently the crew was doing so good, they were able to get the cart and medicine ready as we continued. I heard one EMT say “Good CPR, nice job.” The police and firemen both kept telling us how much they appreciated what we were doing. We loaded Mark on the gurney and placed him into the ambulance, I slammed both doors, gave
it a smack, and they were off.

Dan, Grumpy, Kevin, Ramona, Kim, and Wally, you kept the rest of us and Mark safe from harm’s way by shutting down the roads and directing emergency equipment to the scene. Holly, you kept your cool calling 911 and obtaining very important information, including his name and family contact. Jeryl Medlin, Joe Costanzo, and Steve Barootian, your knowledge and calmness in performing CPR was Mark’s only chance, period! The team work was awe inspiring—you never gave up, you just kept going. I am truly proud of all of you that day and I’m so honored to be your Director.

Unfortunately, Mark Fitting, 57, of Ironwood, Michigan, later passed away of a heart attack. Tim’s message to Mark’s family was “to let them know he did not pass alone but in the company of Angels.”

Utilility Men on the Line

George Aun, MEDIC First Aid Instructor and Division Safety Manager for Foremost Pipeline Construction Company in Gaston, South Carolina, shares a story about Foremost employees Steven Douglas, Scott “Bubba” Pace, and John Edge. This natural gas crew was onsite at a customer’s residence in Easley on July 25, 2011 when the homeowner collapsed on his way back from the mailbox. 
After asking if the patient was okay and giving an order to call 911, the crew rotated CPR duties until the ambulance arrived. They were able to revive the patient who unfortunately died later in the hospital.
The patient’s family thanked these heroes for their quick response and Safety Manager Aun says his organization “is extremely proud of these men as part of our teams that try to do the right things every day.”

Saving a Heart on Valentine's Day

MEDIC First Aid Instructor Marian Wright has some warm words of praise for her student Belva Sarten of the Oroville City Elementary School District in California.

She shares that on February 14, 2012, Belva was quick to respond when alerted that a parent was found unconscious in the parking lot at one of the district’s schools.  Belva immediately took action by performing all the steps in an emergency situation, administering CPR for approximately 4.5 minutes, until relieved by EMS.  “We are all very proud of Belva's quick and excellent response,” says Marian.

Sometimes the Heroes Need a Hero

The MEDIC First Aid Good Samaritan success stories continue to roll in. In today’s story, a MEDIC First Aid student had a chance to changes roles with a law enforcement officer, as she rendered him assistance when he were in need.  

Zee Medical Sales Representative Courtney Jacobs was driving on her route in the Tucson, Arizona area on January 4, 2012 and was stopped in a stand still traffic jam. Up in the distance, she was someone lying in the road, unaided by any emergency personnel.  

After making sure the scene was safe for her to approach, she discovered an injured Pima County deputy and his partner. During a traffic stop, the suspect had intentionally struck motorcycle officers Deputy Alvaro Arizpuru and Deputy Guy Quaintance.  

Courtney returned to her van and retrieved a first responder bag and returned to the stricken officer. She assessed him for bleeding and, fearing that he had sustained a broken leg, stayed with him and helped immobilize him until the ambulance arrived.   

Excellent job to Courtney Jacobs and MEDIC First Aid Instructor Henry Lanouette. Thank you for making a difference!

ASHI-Trained Coast Guard Officers Come to Aid of Choking Child

Jordan C. Johnson, a Machinery Technician 3rd Class Petty Officer and Donald P. Bullock, a Boatswains Mate 2nd Class Petty Officer in the United States Coast Guard were returning from ice rescue training and traveling through Michigan on January 25, 2011.   

When stopping for lunch at a McDonalds, they noticed a woman eating with her two children beginning to panic. One of the children, a little girl about seven years old, was clearly choking on a chicken nugget she had ingested into her trachea. Using their first aid knowledge, training, and experience, PO Johnson attempted to calm the distraught mother while PO Bullock attempted abdominal thrusts.

After two properly applied thrusts into the diaphragm, the chicken nugget was dislodged and the child began gasping for air and coughing with relief. The mother was very grateful for the officers’ quick and diligent actions to save the child, but left in a rush without allowing medical personnel to assess the child on scene.   

Both PO Bullock and PO Johnson asked the McDonalds staff if they had witnessed the choking child and discovered they were the only ones there trained to assist in a fast manner.   

ASHI Instructor Richard Cook commends his USGC students for their outstanding situation awareness and assertiveness, as well as their teamwork and first aid intervention.

An Unforgettable Vacation

Brady Dykens - Good SamaritanOn the afternoon of June 29, 2005, ASHI Instructor Brad Dykens of St. Petersburg, FL was on vacation in New York City. While visiting Rockefeller Plaza, Brad used CPR and an AED to save a man’s life.

After hearing a bystander scream in alarm, Brad saw a middle-aged man lying face up on the concrete. His assessment showed the man was unresponsive and breathing irregularly, eventually ceasing to breathe at all.

While preparing himself to administer rescue breaths even without a barrier device, another bystander came to the rescue. A young woman appeared with a pocket mask and explained that she knew CPR as well. These two rescuers began to work together; the young lady providing the breathing and Brad providing the compressions, while another witness called 911.

Eventually, a Plaza security guard arrived, and the ASHI Instructor asked the man to bring an AED immediately. The noise of the growing crowd made it impossible to hear the prompts, but this veteran trainer knew what to do.

After one shock, the patient gasped loudly and then began to breathe on his own as help from the New York Fire Department arrived. While speaking to the professional responders, Brad saw that his co- rescuer had vanished into the crowd.

While being loaded into the ambulance, the patient felt strong enough to try and sit up on the cot. “Quite a feat for a man who but for a few moments before was dead,” says Brad.

The patient was visiting New York from Holland with his daughter. After several days of treatment, he was released and able to fly back home.

We’ll let Mr. Dykens sum up his experience in his own words, “Being an Instructor of CPR and AED, this event solidifies the importance of the team concepts of CPR and the need for everyone to take a class in CPR. You never know when you may need to take action to help someone and the skills of the class give everyone the confidence to be able to save a life someday.”

A Long Distance Save

On the morning of October 22, 2011. Ohmstede Industrial Services employee David Borden in Rancho, Dominguez, CA received a text from his girlfriend Ana in Schnectady, NY. Ana texted that a woman in her house wasn’t breathing and she couldn’t find a pulse.   

Having recently completed a workplace MEDIC First Aid class that reviewed compression-only CPR, David told her to forget about finding a pulse, call 911, and start CPR until someone gets there. 

When the EMTs arrived, they were able to save the woman.  Emergency services told Ana that if she had not called right away and performed CPR until they got there, the patient would not have survived. David learned later that the patient had suffered a stroke and is now in assisted living.   

David said his recent MEDIC First Aid class, with its guideline changes from the traditional “A-B-C” approach to immediate, compression- only CPR, and the reminder to call 911 immediately, helped him help his girlfriend all the way in New York from 

Family of Heros

MEDIC First Aid Instructor Eric Hiatt of Rescue 1 Training commends the Peters family, owners of Summit City Fitness in Fort Wayne, IN. They have had three AED saves in the past 3 years.

In 2008, only two days after receiving their AED, a fitness center customer collapsed in cardiac arrest. He was administered one shock by the then 18-year-old daughter of the family. The patient lived a few more weeks after the incident, eventually passing away from heart disease.

In another incident a customer was found unresponsive at the gym. Owners David and Sue Peters came to the rescue with CPR and their AED. This fortunate customer was back just a week later with a doctor’s note approving a return to working out at the fitness center.

In the most recent event, a man was found unresponsive in the sauna. The oldest Peters son, home from his naval service joined the owners in using the AED to shock the man and save him. A week later, the patient returned to express his deep gratitude. Jokingly it was said how lucky he was and that perhaps he should buy some lottery tickets. The patient took that advice and, still on his lucky streak, won himself $150,000!

Seaside Rescue

Donald R. Read, a MEDIC First Aid Instructor with the Salvation Army in San Diego, CA, shares a rescue story about two of his students. Husband-and-wife team Trace Willette and Arta Lozenicins relied on their training on July 3, 2011, when they came across a traffic accident on their way to an evening at the beach. Trace saw a man behind one of the wrecked cars suddenly fall to the ground. Arta and Trace pulled over and went to render assistance to the stricken gentleman.

After assessing it was safe to approach, Trace announced that he was trained in first aid and ready to assist. The patient explained that he was experiencing significant abdominal pain as well as pain along the side of his head and neck. Trace instructed another bystander to call 911 while Arta checked for other patients in the vehicles and helped direct traffic away from the scene.

When Trace discovered a large bump on the patient’s left temple, he immobilized the patient’s head to prevent further injury, reassuring the man that help would be arriving soon. With Arta’s assistance, they did a head-to-toe assessment of the patient but found no other obvious injuries.

After a scary moment when one of the affected vehicles began to roll backwards right towards Trace and the patient and was stopped just in the nick of time by yet another bystander, the paramedics arrived. Trace assisted a responder to fit the patient with a neck collar. Then he and Arta were warmly praised by the EMTs and relieved of their duties by the professional response team.

Simple Steps Save a Life

MEDIC First Aid Instructor Joe Geist of Assured Safety Training received a wonderful note from his Seattle-area student William Lemon.

“A week after my CRP/first aid class I encountered a woman collapsing on the street and because of the class I was able to assist, call for help, spot her diabetes bracelet, and make sure she was in stable condition until the ambulance arrived. It was quite a rush and I would have been ill- prepared had it not been for your training – so thank you once again.”

High School Save

ASHI Instructor Jason Royce of Northwest Health & Safety commends Debbie Fowler, RN for a job well done during a cardiac arrest incident involving a 9th grader at Evergreen High School in Vancouver, WA on September 1, 2011. Debbie responded without hesitation to the incident by preforming CPR and using an AED. The patient was transported to the hospital and was consequently released. “The quick response by Debbie and those who assisted her contributed to the positive outcome and saved a young life,” explains Jason.