By Tim Poe, American Red Cross Volunteer
September 13, 2019- For Canton South High School, the new school year began with a celebration of heroism and life. At the school’s first staff meeting, the American Red Cross presented Kristen Smith, one of the school’s teachers, with its Certificate of Merit. It is the highest award given by the Red Cross to an individual or team of individuals who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in a Red Cross Training Services course.
The award was given to Kristen for her efforts that helped save a fellow teacher’s life. Last January, Kristen—who is trained in Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED—recognized the signs when a colleague began to choke during lunch. She quickly reacted, confirmed that the teacher was indeed choking, and performed abdominal thrusts until food was dislodged from her colleague’s airway.
Kristen’s colleagues nominated her for the Certificate of Merit over summer break, worked with Red Cross representatives to verify her remarkable actions, and helped plan for the award’s presentation. At the school’s first staff meeting, Kristen was surprised with the award.
Kimberly Kroh, executive director of the American Red Cross’ Stark & Muskingum Lakes Chapter, presented the award. “It was such an honor to present Kristen Smith with the Certificate of Merit, one of the highest awards given by the American Red Cross,” she said. “It amazes me how one second can change someone’s life, and Kristen did just that when she saved the life of a fellow teacher.”
Jeff Moore, principal of Canton South High School, said, “Kristen exemplifies what we want all of our staff and students to be, someone who takes their education/training and uses those for the betterment of others, someone who is caring and is not afraid to be involved. We could not be more proud of Kristen and all she represents in Wildcat Nation.”
The Northeast Ohio Region of the American Red Cross is proud to have been part of the presentation and to have prepared Kristen for her heroic actions. The skills she learned certainly helped her save a life.
The American Red Cross offers a number of First Aid, CPR, AED and other classes throughout the year. If you would like information, visit https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class.
If you wish to nominate someone for a lifesaving award, visit https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/lifesaving.
Click here to visit our Flickr account to see more photos from Kristen’s award presentation.
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer