Some years ago I had the opportunity to become a foster parent to four young children, three of whom were still in diapers. Before they could come home with us, my wife and I were required by Child Protective Services to take a First Aid/CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) course that taught us what to do for a child in an emergency. It was a very interesting course, and I was glad to be learning new skills that might help a child in distress. But—and maybe this was wishful thinking—I really doubted that I would ever need to use the lifesaving skills I was learning. I was soon proven wrong.

Shortly after the children came to live with us, I took one of the boys to play in our backyard. I walked toward the swings and the toddler was, I thought, coming up behind me. But when I turned around I saw that this little guy was leaning up against the house with a glazed look over his face. I was shocked, but my recent training came back to me and within seconds I shouted for my wife to call 911 and I began giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation that continued until he began to wake up and the emergency workers arrived to take over.

Needless to say, I was sold on the importance of learning what to do in a life-threatening situation and I still am. That’s why since I have been the Wayne Township Trustee I have always encouraged my staff to get certified in First Aid and CPR, and many of them have done that.

Just last month one of my newest employees, Ariel Manuel, came to the rescue of one of our clients’ babies. Ariel was making copies when she heard someone calling for help. She looked down the hall and saw another investigator frantically searching for someone who knew CPR. A client was holding out her little baby for help. The child’s eyes were wide with fear as he couldn’t breathe. Ariel, a trained and certified Home Health Care worker, put the baby over her knee, hooked her finger into his mouth, and cleared his breathing passage, saving his life. He took a breath and began to cry. Out of the sight of his mother the baby’s brother had given him the peppermint that almost took his breath away.

After helping the baby, Ariel quietly returned to work. Hardly anyone knew what had happened, but word got out. When it came to my attention I asked about her experience, and she described a feeling that I found very familiar. When she saw the little baby in distress she was shocked and afraid, but she was trained and she knew that she could help, so she did.

Today, my foster son is a freshman at North Side High School, and it gives me a warm feeling to know that he still has his life ahead of him. Our client’s baby, too, has a future, thanks to Ariel Manuel’s training in emergency procedures. On October 28, Latia Stephens, RN and her crew came to our office and led full-day First Aid/CPR and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) training so that now all of my staff members are trained. We hope it doesn’t happen, but if and when it does, it’s good to be prepared.

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Richard A. Stevenson - Wayne Township Trustee

Wayne Township Trustee Rick Stevenson was elected Trustee in November of 2006 and took office in January of 2007. He is very passionate about helping those in need and considers it a privilege to be in a position to be able to help. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer