Mike Roberson Honored as American Red Cross 2016 Good Samaritan Hero

IL-Good-Samaritan-Award(CHICAGO, IL) – Mike Roberson experienced a death in his family and a fire in his home the same week. Those two tragedies could have made him ignore a car accident happening in front of him, but Mike put his grief aside when yet a third catastrophe came his way. His American Red Cross training kicked in, helping him rescue a family whose van had overturned in a pond off Interstate 57.

While in Mississippi for his uncle’s funeral, Mike’s fiancé called to tell him a fire destroyed the home they shared with Mike’s six-year-old daughter in Naperville. They lost a beloved pet in the fire, but they were ok and were staying with a relative. Before he left to drive back home to Illinois, Mike’s aunt packed some of his uncle’s clothes to replace those he had lost in the fire.

As Mike was on his way home, he watched in disbelief as a van spun out of control and went out of sight on the dark, slippery road south of Champaign. He pulled his car over and attempted to call 911, but was disconnected. His next instinct was to help anyone who was hurt, so he grabbed a flashlight and followed the sounds of a woman’s cries to help save her children. The van had rolled down an embankment and landed upside down in a pond. Mike recalled seeing little hands reaching out from the broken windows. One by one, he pulled out four kids and heard the woman yell there were more. He eventually pulled out four more surviving members of the family.

Trained in first aid and CPR from the Red Cross, Mike showed an older daughter how to help her mother who wasn’t breathing. He grabbed his uncle’s warm clothes from his car to prevent the rest of the family from going into shock from being exposed to the cold water.

“It must have been some divine intervention that I was put behind that van,” Mike said. “Deep down that training made a world of difference. I just knew what I had to do.”

Mike lost his phone in the pond as he pulled the family members out of the van, but first responders were able to ping his location and send paramedics.

A few days later while Mike and his family picked up the pieces from their burned home, he received a call to attend the funeral for the patriarch of the family who didn’t survive the accident. It was the second funeral he attended in a month.

“I hugged and shook so many hands,” he said. “It was the best healing experience and now we’re connected. We all know loss, but sometimes it brings people together.”

The Good Samaritan Award is presented by USG to an outstanding individual(s) who courageously and selflessly responded to an unusual, significant or unexpected crisis.

The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois is honoring local people who demonstrated acts of heroism in the community at the organization’s 14th annual Heroes Breakfast, Thursday, April 28 at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave. For more information: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/local/il/chicago/American-Red-Cross-Honors-Local-Heroes.

 Written by: Patricia Kemp, Communications Manager, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

Nanny Saves a Life With Infant CPR: “Training Turns Helplessness Into a Fighting Chance”

Health and Safety Stock ImagesLynn Lindquist took a pediatric first aid class so she could be a good nanny to six-month-old Jack.

One day Jack was feeding himself pieces of watermelon when he began choking. Lynn allowed Jack to cough at first, but when his breathing became labored she snatched him from the high chair, and turned him over to start the back blow maneuver she learned from her American Red Cross instructor. The piece dislodged and Lynn was relieved to hear Jack cry. A few calming breaths and many hugs later, Jack was happy and giggling again.

“The steps drilled by our instructor, Ed, kicked in when I needed them,” said Lynn. “Red Cross CPR training turns helplessness into a fighting chance. You need to be able to do the best you can for children.”

Lynn is one of many child care providers who have completed a Red Cross class in the Chicago region who would agree infant first aid is a vital skill to know. Even with constant supervision, babies can choke on food or a small toy. They can slip under water in a bathtub or a shallow pool. Infant CPR training ensures you’re prepared, like Lynn was for baby Jack.

“The thing about learning CPR skills from the Red Cross is that it prepares you to act without over thinking it,” she said. “It’ll give you courage to act when you might not have the confidence to help someone in need.”

CPR uses chest compressions and rescue breaths so oxygen-rich blood circulates through the brain and other vital organs until emergency medical personnel arrive.

Lynn encourages everyone to take a Red Cross CPR class to be prepared to help save a life of any age. The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago offers a variety of First Aid/CPR/AED courses and safety tips. Visit http://www.chicagoredcross.org/ for more information.

Written by: Amisha Sud, American Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer

Check, Call, Care

“Check, Call, Care,” says the teacher as she begins class with the first lesson in CPR. “Check, Call, Care,” notes the nurses, athletic trainers and lifeguards that make up the 11 students in the class. “Check, Call, Care,” is or will become an everyday phrase for most of the people in this class.

The class is made up of professional rescuers and healthcare providers and many are looking to re-new their CPR certifications. Getting re-certified for some is just a mandatory precaution but for others, like Sylvia Ceebin, it brings back memories that make her thankful for her skills.

“I have been a nurse for close to 35 yrs and people say ‘Oh you’re use to it’ and I don’t think you’re ever use to it,” said Sylvia.

While sitting in the professional rescuers training course at the American Red Cross, Greater Chicago Region, Sylvia remembers her past and how she has used her CPR training before. As a nurse she told us she has performed CPR many times in the hospital but when asked to share her story, she recalls two sad instances when she had to use CPR outside of the hospital.

Sylvia remembers her first story from 10-15 years ago, being summoned from the clinic she was working at, to help a woman in the building around the corner. The woman, diagnosed with African Trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, was thought to have fallen asleep at her desk but officemates could not wake her up. As Sylvia and her colleagues arrived, they began to work on the woman but something was wrong.

“It was weird giving her CPR. Luckily we had a doctor with us but I think the worst part was she was long gone before we started the care,” reflected Sylvia sadly.

As her second story unfolds, Sylvia starts with some chilling advice, “It’s good to know your surroundings.”

About three years ago Sylvia was working at a company for healthcare in a building downtown doing flu shots for employees. All of a sudden a security guard came down from a board room upstairs and said that someone was having a diabetic reaction and had slumped over during a meeting. Luckily Sylvia was there that day to help because no one else knew what to do.

“I started CPR and someone grabbed the defibrillator. Sadly he didn’t make it, but I guess it reinforced knowing these skills and since I was new to the building it was lucky that other people knew where the AEDs were,” said Sylvia.

Today Sylvia works for the Water Reclamation for Cook County and helps out by informing people about CPR as a safety coordinator. She said she has talked to many different people and is surprised by how many people use these skills daily.

The American Red Cross offers many different classes that can help prepare you for any situation. Be prepared like Sylvia and sign up for a class today!

 Written by Dana Morones

September is National Preparedness Month: Be Red Cross Ready!

It’s been a little while since my last post. I wish I could say it’s because I was getting ready for September, but unfortunately that’s not the case. “What’s so special about September?” you might be asking. Well, I’ll tell you what’s so special about September: It’s National Preparedness Month!

Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and evaluate your situation. I’m asking you to take some time this month to evaluate your preparedness situation and take steps toward being ready for a disaster should it occur. These steps don’t have to be anything monumental. They’re actions as simple as making sure you have extra batteries for your flashlight and phone numbers of emergency personnel in your disaster kit. At the end of the month, you’ll be well on your way to being Red Cross Ready (Click that link, it’s a great presentation!).

This will be a lot easier than trying to eat healthier (although that’s good for you too). Just take 10 minutes out of your day to read our postings on our Twitter or Facebook pages (they’ll also be posted right here on our blog for those of you who haven’t yet subscribed to those services), follow the easy step of the day, and bam! you’re done for the day. You’re automatically more prepared than you were the day before – and you didn’t even have to eat any broccoli. Sounds easy, right?

The three steps to being Red Cross Ready are 1) Get a Kit 2) Make a Plan 3) Be Informed. We’ll get you started on these steps throughout the month, and each week will have a theme focusing on a particular aspect of preparedness that might be unique to certain situations. This week we’ll be focusing on family preparedness.

Let’s work together this month to be prepared. Just tune in every day to one of our social media channels and we’ll have something new for you! To keep you interested, we’ll be giving away a few items from our store, and some of them will make great additions to your disaster kit. The first of these giveaways is tomorrow, so keep a close eye on the blog, become our fan Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

ARCGC AquaERV Takes Third!

This past Saturday provided perfect conditions for racing cardboard boats! Thanks to the Aurora Fire Department, the AquaERV safely made it to Mastadon Lake for the Fox Valley United Way “What Floats Your Cardboard Boat” Race. Longfellow the Whale made the trip to Aurora to support the work of the ARCGC and to promote the importance of water safety for all the race participants. Life jackets on, everyone! The three operators of the AquaERV, Steven Strang, Emily Cull and Katie Darin had impressive paddling skills and secured a third place finish. Once everyone was safely on shore, Longfellow took a much deserved rest. Visit the blog tomorrow afternoon for a video of the AquaERV’s voyage!

Become a Safer Sitter this Summer!

I have been babysitting for more than ten years. I began babysitting my three younger sisters when I was about 13 years old, and I continued to babysit throughout my college years. I can still remember the first little girls I babysat, D.D., Mary and Abby. I used to have so much fun with them playing games, watching movies, and ‘vegging’ out all night before I put them to bed. They went to my grade school, and their parents were friends with mine, so it made sense to have me babysit these girls.

I loved it. I loved every minute of babysitting with them. I got older, and soon the oldest daughter could watch the younger siblings, but I began babysitting for other children. It wasn’t until I was 16 and in health class that I took a CPR/First Aid class. I learned all the skills necessary to respond in an emergency situation … three years after I had first begun babysitting.

I think to myself now- how useful these skills would have been when I was babysitting at 13. I would have felt much more comfortable as a babysitter, and I am sure the parents would have as well. It is without a doubt that they trusted me, but I am sure as parents they would have felt a lot safer if they knew I had some kind of First Aid or CPR training.

I know I would have loved to take a babysitting class when I was younger, so that I could develop skills as a babysitter. It would have given me something to do during free time in the summer, and it would have made me feel a lot safer as a sitter.

And Parents wouldn’t you love for your children to take a babysitting (and CPR/First Aid) training course so that you can feel a sense of ease when you let them watch their siblings or sit for a friend’s child?

This summer American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is offering Babysitter BootCamps that will teach children the necessary Babysitting, CPR and First Aid skills needed to respond in an emergency situation.

Offered throughout the Chicagoland area, this is a perfect course for babysitters to receive the training necessary to become the best babysitter they can be.

Babysitters Come Out and learn how to become a Safer Sitter today!

To learn more the American Red Cross and how to become a Safer Sitter visit: www.chicagoredcross.org/babysit

Would you be prepared to save your pet’s life?

Many people have a close bond with their pets. Their pets are a companion, a friend, and even a part of the family.

I have seen this first hand. My father loves cats; he even named his cat Sox, after his favorite team~ the White Sox. I have seen him spend countless days sitting on the couch with his favorite pet right by his side. The cat even waits for my dad to come home from work, and then hops on his lap as soon as he sits down.

I have seen this scenario played out countless times with multiple friends and family members. Whether it is dogs, cats, or any other pet, many people treat their pets as a member of the family. They play with their pets, by special treats for them, and some even bring their pets on vacations. And I know that all of these friends and family members would do just about to anything to protect their pets from harm.

American Red Cross is helping people prepare to do just that. The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago offers Pet First Aid Classes and Pet Safety Tips that help people prepare to keep their pets safe in times of emergencies.

American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is offering $10 off Pet CPR Classes and 15% off Pet First Aid Kits designed to help you learn how to keep your furry friends safe in the case of an emergency.

Learn how you can be prepared to save your pet’s life.

American Red Cross of Greater Chicago Marketing and Communications Intern

Babysitters BootCamp Is Going to Rock

When I was growing up, babysitting was my dream job. The girls who watched my brother and me on my parents’ date nights were like celebrities in our kiddie lives. We’d request Tammy, because she was the sweetest and let us stay up the latest. And she liked playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.

I was also obsessed with The Babysitters Club books and their spunky, entrepreneurial spirit. I would have been Kristy.

Needless to say, I was itching to begin babysitting. Before I could start, my mom signed me up for Red Cross babysitters training at the local fire department. We learned how to save a child from choking, how to hold an infant, and some fun games for kids of different ages and stages of development.

More than anything, I learned what it was going to mean to be in charge. If something scary happened, it was up to me to protect the kids and myself.

I used those skills in my long career of babysitting, mostly caring for the growing family across the street that (I think) peaked at 10 kids. While reading countless bedtime stories, changing diapers, giving baths and heating up zillions of bowls of mac ‘n cheese, I became a pretty great babysitter. And I grew up quite a bit, too.

This summer, kids can sign up for a two-day Babysitters BootCamp through the Greater Chicago Red Cross. They’ll learn a lot of the same skills I did, and they’ll be fully certified in First Aid and Child and Infant CPR. To learn more, visit www.chicagoredcross.org/babysit

Have any good babysitting stories? Post them in the comments!

New Ways to Support the Chicago Red Cross

The Chicago Red Cross has recently partnered with AT&T!

When you order AT&T Advanced TV, Local Phone Service, or High Speed Internet service, you can simultaneously help raise money to support the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. AT & T offers a variety of services and each purchase you make through this link will aid the Red Cross in serving local disaster clients because AT&T will donate a portion of your costs to the Red Cross!

AT&T is one of many partners supporting the Red Cross every day and you would be surprised at how many ways you can help support the Red Cross through your everyday activities. Things like banking, dining out, purchasing flowers and even searching the internet can benefit the Red Cross.

So, keep doing what you’re doing, but help the Red Cross at the same time??? Yes, really, it’s that simple! You can check out the full list of partners and start helping the Red Cross today by visiting www.chicagoredcross.org/fundraisers.

Quick Quiz – Do You Know What The Red Cross Can Do For You?

Being volunteers with two organizations (The American Red Cross and AmeriCorps) that people know little about, it really tries the patience when catching up with old friends or meeting with new ones to try to explain what exactly it is we do? Quite a bit of times, people assume we’re nurses or take blood – a very silly assumption considering Sam doesn’t like to be around blood and I am no where near nice enough to be a nurse.
To be quite honest, when we are on scene at a fire it is quite common that someone gets frustrated with us, not because we are not helping, but because their expectations of the Red Cross do not coincide with what we actually do.

So we are going to use today to have a quick review of the services the American Red Cross is able to provide – feel free to shout it from the roof tops, tell your friends, your neighbors, or just some strangers.

– Provide temporary financial relief for immediate clothing, food and shelter needs for an emergency timeframe (48 hours).
– Help to replace lost/damaged medications.
– Assist in connecting clients to other organizations for long term assistance.
– If necessary, Mass Care Sheltering
– Provide flood clean-up kits
– Provide lost toiletry items.
– Help with funeral expenses.
– Provide Mental Health support

I feel that it is important to note that the American Red Cross recieves all of its funding from generous donations from people like you.
Thank you.
Written By: Sam and Lily