Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Letter from East Tennessee Executive Director Michelle Hankes, August 2015

Ami Anderson
This month I’d like to share a story with you all about a Red Cross volunteer from East Tennessee.  Ami Anderson is the Disaster Action Team Captain for Blount County, has gone on several deployments, and conducts Disaster Cycle Service trainings for our chapter.

She has also saved the life of a stranger.

At the end of July, Ami was at a local car dealership considering a new vehicle.  While in the office, she heard a commotion and ran out to find one of the dealership employees slumped and his co-workers standing around not sure what to do. Now, Ami could have decided that it wasn’t her place to step up.  She could have waited for the ambulance to arrive.  But instead she did step forward.  “I was scared.  I’ve been trained in CPR but have never had to use it before,” she told us. “But it was me or nobody.”  Ami followed her Red Cross training and positioned the man on the floor, clearing his air ways and began chest compressions. Thankfully, he quickly revived and is recovering at the local hospital.

Executive Director, Michelle Hankes
No one (except medical professionals) wakes up in the morning and decides today’s the day he is going to save a life. We don’t know when the call to be a hero will come to us. All we can do is be prepared by keeping our certifications up to date. 

This is a very personal issue for me as my husband saved our oldest son’s life fourteen years ago.  Our son was a toddler when he choked on a piece of fruit, and my husband, who had taken infant CPR just a few months before, knew what to do. 

Being trained is the first half of being a hero.  The second half is the willingness to act; the willingness to try to save a life even when you’re afraid of failing. Ami Anderson is an example of a true Red Cross hero, and I know a family in Blount County who believes that, too.

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