Lifesaving Awards: Red Cross Recognizes Individuals for Selfless Actions

The American Red Cross National Lifesaving Awards program recognizes and honors individuals and teams who save or sustain a life using skills learned in a Red Cross Training class.

This year, Cory Pearson was recognized with the Lifesaving Award for Professional Rescuers. His instructor, Dan Kish, received the Lifesaving Instructor Award.

Cory Pearson (left) and Dan Kish (bottom)

Dan’s lifesaving teachings were critical in saving a man’s life at one of the pools at Naval Station Great Lakes. On October 17, 2017, Cory Pearson, a lifeguard to whom Dan had taught CPR and AED, spotted a distressed swimmer. Cory brought the man out of the water and with the help of teammates, performed CPR.

Dan was at the pool that day and remembers Cory’s actions vividly. “He was the closest to the victim and I saw him quickly respond and activate the emergency action plan.” Dan says. “He got the victim out of the water quickly. I was proud to watch one of my students perform a correct rescue and save someone’s life.”

As a swimming coach and lifeguard, Dan is very much aware of the importance of knowing lifesaving skills such as how to respond to aquatic emergencies, performing CPR and how to use an AED. “I have a seven-month old daughter, and we are always near a lake or pool. Everybody should know these lifesaving skills, “ Dan explains. “This helps build confidence in the rescuer. People should also stay current in their training as it’s always changing and evolving for the best. Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime and you need to be ready.”

Also, this week, the Red Cross presented the American Red Cross Certificate of Merit to Petty Officer 2nd Class, Elias Sandoval of the U.S. Navy, who is trained in American Red Cross Advance Life Support. On December 6, 2019, Elias was driving in Jacksonville, North Carolina, when he noticed a man laying on the highway. He realized that the man was unconscious. Elias brought his personal AED and first aid kit to where the gentleman was and after assessing his condition, began to perform chest compressions and rescue breaths. Thanks to Elias’ prompt actions, the man began to respond. The skills learned in the Red Cross course undoubtedly helped Elias sustain a life on that day.

Elias, who is currently assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Base in Lake Forest, has been a CPR instructor for a couple of years. He told us why it’s so important for him to teach people the skills that he has learned with the Red Cross. “I think it’s very important for everybody to be certified and be able to provide CPR because seconds matter and it’s up to you to make a difference,” said Elias.

If you’re interested in learning lifesaving skills through the Red Cross, visit for information.

Written by Isis Chaverri, Regional Communications & Marketing Manager

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