The American Red Cross recently honored six Missouri men for saving a co-worker’s life after he suffered cardiac arrest.
All were employees of the Honeywell FM&T facility in Kansas City, Missouri. Three received the Certificate of Merit, a national Red Cross award which recognizes people who have used the skills they learned in Red Cross training classes to save or sustain a life. Awardees included Ray Mackay, Peculiar, Mo., Arlis Graves, Independence, Mo. and Phillip Ketchum, Lexington, Mo. The awards were signed by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, and Chairman of the Red Cross, Bonnie McElveen Hunter.
The Red Cross Lifesaving Award for the Professional Responder is the second-highest award given by the Red Cross, signed by Gail McGovern, the national president and CEO of the Red Cross, as well as Chairman Hunter. This award, given to John Pangelinan, Independence, Mo., Brian Boyd, Peculiar, Mo. and Charles Wheeler of Lee’s Summit, Mo., recognizes professional responders who have saved or sustained a life using skills learned in Red Cross training.
During the ceremony at the Missouri facility, the victim, George Hickman, was able to thank the men who helped save his life.
“It is quite humbling to stand here in front of six gentlemen who saved my life,” Hickman said. “Every day is a blessing. It can end in a heart beat. I appreciate your chest compressions and thank you for paying attention in the CPR course.”
The story began in July of last year when Hickman was sitting at his work station at Honeywell in Kansas City, Mo. and suffered cardiac arrest. Two co-workers immediately began CPR while another called the plant emergency number. Security officers arrived with an automated external defibrillator (AED). Hickman received a shock from the AED, regained a pulse, and began breathing again. Another co-worker administered oxygen before paramedics arrived to take over care and transport Hickman to the hospital. Hickman underwent emergency surgery and has now returned to work.
The lives of three Honeywell employees have been saved as a result of Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training. In addition to the 2012 incident being recognized by this award, lives were also saved in 2002 and 2008.
“There’s one thing I can share with everybody here. Take every day as a blessing because it truly is,” Hickman said. “It can end in a heartbeat.”