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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesdays with Gindy. CPR class at the American Red Cross

When I joined the Junior Iva Rescue Squad way back in 1977, I set myself a goal to get the most training I could in First Aid and CPR.  I also decided to get the rest of the Junior Squad trained as best I could.  I did not have a rank or any authority in the squad, but I set out to get everyone trained.  I guess you could say I appointed myself as training officer.

I was already trained in multi-media first aid, which was a basic level of first aid training at the time.  I arranged with the American Red Cross in Anderson for the Junior Rescue Squad to take first aid classes and later C. P. R. classes. After that was completed, I arranged for us to take Advanced First Aid Classes.

Finally, we had all the C.P.R. and first aid classes available.  The next level was to
become an instructor. The problem was I was the only one in the Junior Squad at the time who was at least 17.  I took the instructor classes.  I thought I would have to find classes to teach, but they seemed to find me.  I was always busy.  I was a volunteer so I did not get paid, but many of the classes were fun experiences.

I moved to Spartanburg to go to the University of South Carolina-Spartanburg.  I let the Palmetto Chapter of the American Red Cross know that I was available to teach classes.  The Palmetto Chapter covers both Spartanburg and Union Counties of South Carolina, or at least it did at the time.

One day, the Palmetto Chapter called to ask if I could co-teach a class that Saturday.  As I remember it, a local plant needed to get all their foremen trained in C. P. R.  It seems they had an upcoming certification that required that foremen were C. P. R. trained. It had to be done that Saturday and there were more people than the Red Cross safety director thought one person could teach properly.

I had $5 to my name and just enough gas to get me to and from the Red Cross headquarters that Saturday.  The low fuel light was lit the whole time. It would be a few days before I would get any more money.   I thought that with five dollars I could get something to eat at Hardees, which was right there beside headquarters.

I showed up and met my co-instructor for the very first time.  He was one of the officers in the Chesnee Rescue Squad.  I think it was Rescue 8 but I am not sure.

Anyway, to make a short story long, as I am wont to do, he and I took turns with the lecture part and I ran the projector.  We both supervised the practical part of the class where students actually practice C. P. R. on Resusci Annie. 

It came time to break for lunch and I did a little straightening in the room. As I was doing that, one of the leaders of the group approached me and asked me if I was going to lunch.  I told him I was thinking about going to Hardees.  He said, “Why don’t you come to Quincy’s with us?”  Quincy’s was a steakhouse and was out of my budget at that moment.  I was honest with the man and told him I would, but I could not because I only had $5.  He said, “I did not ask you that.” The whole group went to Quincy’s.

I entered the line just behind my co-instructor.  The leader got in line just behind me.  As we go to the part of the counter where you get a salad bowl, he put a salad bowl on my tray.   He asked me what kind of steak I liked and I told him, “I usually get the number 9 cooked medium with a baked potato. But today I will just get the hamburger.” He said, “I did not ask you that." He asked what dessert I thought would be good. I told him, “I am a diabetic; I don’t eat desserts.”

When we approached the register, I told the cashier I wanted a hamburger.  The leader spoke up and said, “Cancel that hamburger.  He will have a number 9 cooked medium with a baked potato.”  I told him I could not afford that. He said, “I did not ask you that.”

The cashier totaled my order and it was triple what I had in my pocket.  I gulped and the leader took the ticket and paid it.

We ate and had a good time.  The foremen asked me what I was studying and did I like teaching at the Red Cross.  I told them I enjoyed it a great deal and I liked most of the people I met.

We finished lunch and walked back over to headquarters.  Finally, we had all the foremen certified in C. P. R.  As they were leaving, the leader handed me a $20 bill and I told him I could not accept it because I was a volunteer.  He offered a similar bill to my co-instructor and he said, “Give it to David.”  One of the men asked for my keys, saying he and one of the others were going to put the equipment I had brought back in Bird-2 (my car) for me. I gave them up wondering why it took two men to do what I had done by myself.

The leader, my co-instructor, and I talked for a little while and we started to leave.  The leader said, “David, you can’t take money for teaching, but we would like to give you money for gas .”  He handed me the two $20 bills that had been offered earlier.  I took it.

When I got back in Bird-2, I noticed the low fuel light was not on any more.  The guy that had borrowed my keys to “put equipment back in the car” had taken my car next door and filled the tank.

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  1. They sound like very kind people. You are very kind too for volunteering as well.You reap what you sow.

    1. These were some very nice people. I met a lot of good people while I was being an instructor. I once taught about 100 dentists at one time. That was cool.


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