“If they wouldn’t have done what they did and known how to do it, they would have been planning my funeral and I would have been dead and buried a year ago.”
Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 is a day Craig Kinzer will never forget. It is the day his life could have ended, had it not been for the quick actions of four lifeguards.
Craig was finishing up a drill as part of a lifeguarding course at a YMCA in Davenport, Iowa when he lost consciousness while in the swimming pool. Craig would later learn that he had suffered sudden cardiac death.
That’s when the lifeguards did exactly what they are trained to do.
Katie McGrane immediately jumped in the water and pulled Craig out of the pool, then checked for a pulse. CPR was administered to Craig on the pool deck.
As a team, the four lifeguards worked to restore Craig’s pulse. They spent approximately 30 minutes performing CPR, then paramedics took over and ultimately, Craig was stabilized and then released from the hospital after just five days.
Katie credits her lifeguard training with preparing her to be ready to act at that moment, when help was needed the most.
“It’s not if, it’s when, and if you aren’t trained, you won’t be ready when it happens. I think everybody should be trained to some level in CPR. If you can, become a lifeguard, because you do truly save lives.”
Craig credits the lifeguards with doing just that, saving his life. He is grateful for the experiences he’s had this past year, and what he is looking forward to in the future.
“My daughter got married in September, so, I got to walk her down the aisle. I’m expecting my first grandchild in June, so if it weren’t for those four and the paramedics, I wouldn’t be around to enjoy that stuff,” said Craig.
Craig recently had the opportunity to present a Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action to each of the lifeguards on behalf of the American Red Cross, during a ceremony in their honor at the YMCA where they helped save his life.
“I got a little choked up, because he is a human being. To be able to provide a second lease on life for that human being is a big deal for me,” said Katie. “When I get to see him and talk to him and hear his daughter is expecting and see the wedding photos with him and his daughter, that is the greatest award and that’s very fulfilling.”
Thank you to all four lifeguards for their lifesaving actions! Visit redcross.org/take-a-class to get the skills and knowledge to help save someone’s life.
Written by Illinois Region Communications Manager Brian Williamsen