One of the vision statements of the American Red Cross is that through our strong network of volunteers, donors and partners, we are always there in times of need. We aspire to turn compassion into action, so that in an emergency, there are always trained people nearby ready to use their Red Cross skills to save lives.
One of the greatest honors I have is to recognize heroes in West and Southwest Colorado who were able to use their Red Cross training to provide lifesaving care to those in need. I had such an opportunity last Friday to recognize two lifesavers, Anson Lemmer and Todd Nelson, both of whom had taken Red Cross training years ago, but still knew what to do when the need arose.
On June 22, driving along Highway 9 to his home in Kremmling, Nelson saw a large dust plume and tire tracks leading over the embankment of Green Mountain Reservoir.
“When I pulled over, I saw a car half submerged,” Nelson said. “I saw a body floating, and I went in after him.”
Relying on Red Cross lifeguard training he received as a teenager, Nelson pulled the man onto the shore and began chest compressions. Within a short time, signs of life returned and paramedics arrived.
Lemmer, delivering a pizza from Uncle Pizza in Glenwood Springs, was making his last pizza run on June 15. When he pulled into the driveway, he saw a man on the ground. Two other people were with the man and when he pulled up, and they asked if he knew CPR.
“I jumped in and started doing compressions,” Lemmer said. “One of the other men called 911, but I knew I couldn’t wait for them.”
Lemmer kept doing CPR until the man started to breathe and paramedics arrived – saving the man’s life. It had been nearly seven years since Anson learned the basics of CPR while attending a Red Cross baby-sitting class.
It is so gratifying when we witness the results of training in action. The Red Cross teaches CPR so that everyday people such as Lemmer and Nelson have the power to save a life. These events go to show it doesn’t matter when you received your training, but that the skills stay with you. We encourage everyone to learn these necessary lifesaving skills.
In Southwest Colorado, training is provided through Hearts-On LLC, a proud provider of Red Cross health and safety trainings. It can be found at www.heartsoncpr.com or by calling 946-0876.
Just like Lemmer and Nelson, you never know when you may be faced with an emergency and need to step in to save someone’s life.
Eric Myers is executive director for the Red Cross in western Colorado. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 242-4851.