Panic filled the place and people rushed to Eugene Parker, who fell to the ground. They tried to make him comfortable, but many didn’t know what else they could do to help Eugene.
But Carlos did. He knew CPR. Without hesitation, Carlos was at the Eugene’s side and took control.
Carlos worked for the Chicago Parks District 25 years ago where he first participated in CPR trainings. He interacted with many seniors and children and wanted to ensure his staff knew the basics of first aid in case of emergencies. Years later at ComEd, Carlos took the course again. His company offered it for employees through the American Red Cross where he was able to brush up on basic skills and learn some new techniques.
It’s a good thing he did. At the church, Carlos stepped in to comfort Eugene. Then Eugene stopped breathing and his eyes rolled back into his head. Carlos started CPR. He provided three chest compressions and three rescue breaths. He continued to assure Eugene he would be ok and stayed by his side until the wailing sirens signaled the arrival of the ambulance. Carlos briefed paramedics about the first aid he provided and stepped back to let them work.
“My hands were trembling when I walked back in the church and people started patting my back and saying, ‘You saved his life, you saved his life!’” Carlos said.
Carlos received a call later from Eugene’s father-in-law who said Eugene was recovering, and if it wasn’t been for Carlos’s quick action and knowledge of CPR, his son-in-law might not have survived. Eugene had so much to live for, the father-in-law told Carlos, who just married his daughter a week before the incident. Eugene’s family was grateful Carlos was there to help.
As a community partner of the Red Cross, ComEd offers CPR and First Aid education at no cost to staff. The Red Cross helps Chicago area residents prepare for emergencies at home and in the workplace through health and safety classes including First Aid, CPR and more. The Red Cross also provides certifications to organizations and companies like ComEd to equip their employees with the expertise to respond in a variety of first aid and cardiac situations until advanced medical personnel arrive.
Carlos, who has a four-month-old grandson, tells his co-workers, church members and others the importance of both pediatric and adult First Aid and CPR. He hopes his story inspires others to learn these lifesaving skills.
“Never be afraid to help somebody,” Carlos said. “Learn the basics of CPR and where you can apply it. You never know when, where and why you might need it.”
Written by Amisha Sud, American Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer