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Training an army of lifesavers

4:29 PM  Sep 19th, 2017
by Cari Zahn ’18

Dozens gathered in the University of Dayton RecPlex, listening to the haunting 911 call made on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, when Sean Ferguson ’15 was struck by lightning. Used to commence the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the hands-only CPR kiosk located just inside the RecPlex, the call detailed the vital moments as Ferguson struggled for his life.

The event on September 15 served as a reminder that knowing CPR in dire situations can save lives. Michelle Lovely, board chair for the American Heart Association of Dayton, reminded the audience that when performed immediately, hands-only CPR can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.

“Our key goal is to train an army of lifesavers,” said Nicole Aiello Sapio, executive vice president for the American Heart Association Great Rivers Affiliate.

The partnership between UD, the American Heart Association and Dayton Freight Lines, Inc. is an important one. Sponsored by Dayton Freight, the kiosk represents the company’s initiative to servant leadership. According to Mike Cronin, Dayton Freight’s executive vice president, there isn’t a better way to help people than preparing them to save lives.

The University of Dayton is the first university to host a kiosk of this kind on a college campus. With approximately 400,000 visits to the RecPlex per year, according to Eric F. Spina, university president, the kiosk will provide countless opportunities to educate the UD community on how to save lives.

“As a Marianist university, we are called to employ our head, and our heart and our hands in service to others,” Spina said.

A representative of that kind of service is Matt Lickenbrock ’16, the UD student that saved Ferguson’s life by administering CPR. Ferguson was struck by lightning as he was walking across a campus parking lot. Ferguson said the kiosk will give everyone the opportunity to be a superhero “just like Matt.”

Just before the ribbon cutting, Father Jim Fitz, S.M., rector, spoke of the “twofold purpose” the kiosk has. First, it is a gift to “promote the fullness of life,” he said. Second, it is a reminder that, “We, like our God, are to be givers of life.”

That kind of lifegiving skill is still a blessing in Ferguson’s life today.

“Not a day goes by where I don’t stop and pause to be reminded of the gift of life,” Ferguson said. “It’s a great opportunity to reflect back on what a great gift that is.”

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