By Eilene Guy, American Red Cross volunteer
July 10, 2020- If a loved one or colleague – or even a stranger – suddenly collapsed in front of you, what would you do?
Fortunately for 61-year-old Mark Eitner, his coworkers at Nordson Xaloy Inc., in Austintown, Ohio, knew exactly what to do. They saved his life.
“Thank you doesn’t seem like enough to say,” Mark said, “but on behalf of my wife and my children, thank you!”
Mark was on hand last week for an American Red Cross ceremony to honor the men who saved his life: Jim Shepard and Richard Santucci.
When Mark went down next to a machine he was working on, Jim immediately recognized the situation was serious and alerted others on the maintenance team to call 9-1-1. Richard – a safety team member who just weeks earlier had taken a refresher for his Red Cross first aid, CPR and AED course – stepped in to take action.
Based on his training, Richard could tell Mark needed CPR, to keep blood flowing, taking oxygen to his brain. He also recognized Mark’s heart needed stimulation from an AED. Richard was able to administer both.
Studies show CPR can double a person’s chance of surviving a heart attack, but only about a third of those who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital receive bystander CPR, according to the American Heart Association. Mark got a fighting chance at survival, thanks to Richard and Jim.
Rachel Telegdy, executive director of the American Red Cross of Greater Akron and the Mahoning Valley, presented Jim with a Certificate for Extraordinary Personal Action. This certificate recognizes people who step up in an emergency to help save or sustain a life, exemplifying the mission of the Red Cross to prevent and alleviate human suffering in emergencies.
For his part, Richard received the Red Cross Certificate of Merit, the organization’s highest award, given to people who save or sustain a life using skills and knowledge learned in Red Cross training. The certificate is signed by the president of the United States, who is the honorary chair of the American Red Cross, and the chairman of the Red Cross.
“It’s my honor (to receive the award),” Richard said. “Without your support and training, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did.”
Richard has gone on to get certified to teach Red Cross first aid, CPR and AED, paying it forward to enable others to respond in an emergency. He noted that there was an overwhelming response from the Nordson workforce to get Red Cross training in the wake of Mark’s emergency.
“Heroes are all around us. But they’re not common. To act quickly and decisively during a crisis takes a level of courage reserved only for a few,” Rachel said.
“It’s our hope your heroic actions inspire others to get trained in skills that save lives.”
To find a Red Cross first aid, CPR and AED course – and be ready to save a life – go to redcross.org/take-a-class.
Click here to view the virtual awared presentation.
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer