When Brenda Snapp became a CPR instructor with the American Red Cross, she never thought she’d use her skills to help a fellow Red Cross volunteer. On a sweltering day in early August, however, that’s exactly what she did.
Brenda was representing the American Red Cross at the Kankakee county fair on a sweltering day in early August. Everything was going well, despite the heat. “We had just won first prize for our display,” Brenda said. Another volunteer showed up for his shift, and Brenda started chatting with him. “I noticed he was sweating a lot, and I thought he might have heat stroke,” Brenda said.
Suddenly, the man told her, “My arms don’t feel right,” and he passed out. Brenda lowered him gently to the ground and called 911. She used her training to act quickly. Monitoring the man’s breathing and pulse, Brenda placed a cold bottle of water under his neck. She stayed by his side and kept him cool with a fan until the ambulance arrived.
Brenda said her Red Cross training helped her know what to do to help her fellow volunteer. “I knew what I was doing was the right thing and that I couldn’t harm him. I did what I could to get the people there to care for him and get him to be where he needed to be, in the hospital.” The volunteer is still recovering from his illness and calls Brenda regularly to keep her updated on his progress.
The experience has reinforced Brenda’s love for working at the Red Cross. “You feel good when you leave here after a day of work. Like your day was actually spent doing something very good,” she said.
-Kristin Claes is the senior writer at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.