Sitting in the empty 50-seat theater with the tunes of Bach or Mozart filling the silent void, Tom Flynn ’77 finds his creative energies most focused. It is here, with only the light of his laptop flickering, where the screenplay writer says his characters speak to him best.
Flynn said he knows he has something special in that theater when stacked hours seem like mere minutes, and his “characters talk so fast, you have to tell them to slow down.” The whole process, he said “is kind of schizophrenic.”
But, his characters knew what they were talking about back in 2011, when a writing frenzy produced Gifted, a major Hollywood movie set to hit theaters nationwide April 12.
The story follows the difficulties of Frank Adler, played by Chris Evans, who tries to give his child prodigy niece (McKenna Grace) a chance for a normal life. Difficulties occur when Frank’s mother (Lindsay Duncan) wants to separate them. Other major actors and actresses set to appear in the film include Octavia Spencer and John Finn. The film was directed by Mark Webb.
For Flynn, this success is a testament to the frustrations of his early writing career. When he moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990s, his scripts got picked up by some big Hollywood players: Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., the Weinstein Co., Twentieth Century Fox and The Walt Disney Co.
“I wrote nothing but comedies and romantic comedies while I lived in Los Angeles,” he said. “Comedies are fun because you try to make yourself laugh as much as possible, and you could sell them for a lot of money.”
That first script he wrote was sold to Paramount and, according to Flynn, had Eddie Murphy attached to it. More than 15 years later, Flynn was standing in front of the actor in a coffee shop and told the barista to add the tab for the guy standing behind him.
Murphy found Flynn and asked why he bought his coffee.
“Because you bought me my first house,” Flynn said to a very confused Murphy. “When I told him that he was attached to my first-bought script, he laughed and said, ‘You owe me a lot more coffee than that.’”
That script, along with so many others, stayed hidden from the silver screen.
“I’d have all these big sales that made me hot again [in the industry], but then they never got made,” Flynn recalled.
The long hours in isolation, bringing to life the characters and places his mind created, weeks away from his wife Andi Matheny — none of it seemed worth it.
“I was done with it,” Flynn said. “I was done writing and selling and then nothing happening.”
He left his paper and pen behind and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, to rehab old houses. But he couldn’t let it go. For three years, he had stories and ideas but refused to be disappointed again.
Matheny, a voice-over artist, provided the final push to encourage her husband: Either write a drama or get a normal job. And as Flynn admitted, “Having a cartoon mouse yell at you like that is sobering.”
Five weeks later, he had written Gifted. The script caught the eye of Hollywood legend Meryl Streep in 2013, giving it a boost of street cred. The next year, Gifted was selected by The Black List, a filmmaker survey, as one of the best unproduced screenplays of 2014.
At 61, the English graduate seems to have some long years of scriptwriting ahead of him. He is currently rewriting the movie TOGO for Disney, as well as writing the script for a movie adaptation of the Peter Heller novel The Dog Stars.
“The good and bad thing about Hollywood is this: You write scripts and never get a movie made. But the good side is there are automatic elevators if you do get a movie made.”
It seems Flynn is on that elevator now and hopes the gift of Gifted lets him ride it for as long as he can.
George Scott Baker is an average guy. He’s OK with it, though, and he wants other average folks to embrace their averageness too. In fact, he gives entire seminars on how to be average. Baker, the alter ego of Andy Boehnlein, says that being average gets a bad rap when it really shouldn’t.
“People think of average as not even trying,” said Boehnlein. “But it’s really about being OK with who you are rather than
being stressed out all the time trying to keep up with the person next to you.”
George’s debut was hardly average, however. He appeared on Chicago’s famed The Second City stage in what Boehnlein called, “kind of a terrible sketch.” Still, Boehnlein, who spent six months studying sketch writing, improv and acting during his sophomore year, never forgot about his pal George.
Years later, Boehnlein wondered what George would look like and what he would have to say. He revived the quirky fellow thanks, in part, to his general studies major that included comedy, leadership and philosophy.
“It built a steady foundation for us both,” said Boehnlein who today demotivates (as George, of course) university staff and
recreational sports departments all over the U.S. His message?
“It’s really rooted in living a purposeful life and being OK with being you,” Boehnlein said. “I then relate it to leadership and how it applies to a job.”
As for the goofy outfit and terrible wig, Boehnlein said it relaxes people and reminds them not to take themselves too seriously.
“People hear this kind of message a lot, but I like to say that I trick people into really understanding
Boehnlein, who also works for the University of Michigan intramural sports league, would eventually like to introduce George to the corporate world. For now, he’s happy with George being, well, average.
In this jubilee year, the siblings are celebrating.
The Marianist brothers and sisters each mark 200 years of service to their communities during a worldwide, 20-month celebration.
“Both religious institutions have been ‘siblings’ from the beginning, according to the mind of our founders,” wrote the superiors general of the Society of Mary and the Daughters of Mary Immaculate.
Born out of the chaos of the French Revolution, the congregations’ roots began in diverse lay communities of faith open to all Christians. Founded by the Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon and Marie Thérèse de Lamourous, the lay communities grew and sparked the desire of a small group eager to take religious vows.
“Our Marianist founders’ vision for rebuilding society and Church through a network of dynamic and engaged faith communities is as applicable today as it was 200 years ago,” said Sister Leanne Jablonski, F.M.I. ’85, director of the Marianist Environmental
Education Center at Mount St. John and Hanley Sustainability Institute scholar-in-residence for faith and environment.
“Marianist sisters today live Adèle’s spirit by collaborating with our other Marianist branches and with other organizations to
address justice concerns, including the needs of women, children, the environment and those in poverty. In Pope Francis’ spirit of hope, mercy and care, we are joyfully building a Church and world where no one is left out.”
The jubilee theme “To know, love and serve” highlights actions ever-present in Marianist text and traditions.
The celebration began May 15, 2016, just prior to the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, and encompasses the founding anniversary of the Society of Mary, Oct. 2, 1817.
The celebration continues through Jan. 22, 2018, the feast day of Chaminade.
The congregations commissioned a three-paneled icon, which is traveling the world visiting Marianist communities. It features artwork of the wedding feast at Cana created by Brother Salvatore Santacroce, S.M., of Italy. Flanking the art are original letters penned by Adèle and Chaminade.
“The icon is a way to unify every Marianist community,” said Father Bob Jones, S.M. ’98, chaplain at Chaminade Julienne High School, during the icon’s December visit to Dayton.
The Society of Mary founded what would become known as the University of Dayton in 1850. The Marianist sisters joined them on campus in 1962 when the University opened its first women’s residence hall. Both congregations remain integral to campus, religious and scholarly life.
“We are small but mighty,” said Sister Laura Leming, F.M.I. ’87, associate professor of sociology. “We have about 330 sisters and are the smallest of the three branches. When we choose a ministry, it’s often to complete the Marianist Family because we are best when we — women and men, lay and religious — are together,” she said.
This will again be the case in Malawi, where the sisters will, in a new ministry this year, complement the works of the Society of Mary and lay communities by teaching in a high school for girls. The sisters will also be starting a ministry in Vietnam, their 16th country of service and as the first religious branch to go there.
“I think [Adèle] encourages us to be risk takers and to, in faith, know that Mary and her son will be with us,” said Sister Estella Ibarra, F.M.I. ’68, former member of the general administration in Rome. “When you use that refrain over and over in prayer and everyday
activity, pretty soon you live it. It becomes more than a mantra; it becomes a reality.”
Today, the Marianist Family operates 18 high schools, three universities, four retreat centers and six parishes in the United States. Worldwide, they can be found on six continents and in 34 countries.
“Few things last 200 years these days in our rapidly changing world,” said UD President Eric F. Spina. “Yet the Marianist charism has endured and thrived during an era when it seems we’re always busy chasing the next big idea, when faith and culture often clash, when electronic communication replaces, all too
often, personal conversations.”
Two hundred years ago, Chaminade recognized power in the revolutionary call for “liberty, equality and fraternity,” said Father Jim Fitz, S.M. ’68, vice president for mission and rector. But he also realized something was missing — Christian values. The violence of the Revolution betrayed the Christian values on which it rested.
“If we were all sons and daughters of God, the violence of the Revolution wouldn’t be a part of it,” Fitz said of Chaminade’s insight. “We talk a lot about community. It is rooted in this time, when through adversity we somehow came together to support each other but also to be witnesses to different values — to working together and collaborating across class lines.
“How do we dialogue; how do we work together for a common humanity; how do we keep faith in the mix? Chaminade showed us how in his day and age. We must do the same today.”
*Blue dots: Brothers and Priests — The Society of Mary 1,056
*Orange dots: Daughters of Mary Immaculate 331No Comments
“What does a white guy in a suit know about poor people?”
That’s what David Phillips said everyone asked when he decided to open a nonprofit to help low-income people find jobs.
And Phillips has made it his mission to know as much as he can about poverty and its far-reaching consequences. After retirement, Phillips and his wife, Liane, looked at their hometown of Cincinnati — a city with pockets of high poverty — and decided to do something.
They opened Cincinnati Works in 1996 to help residents find jobs. Over time, Phillips learned that the problem goes deeper than simply locating employment.
“People can find a job,” Phillips said. “The hard part is keeping it.”
The reasons are complicated. Phillips says single parents get fired because they have to take time off work when a child is sick. Mental illness can also create roadblocks.
“It seems to have nothing to do with keeping a job, but it has everything to do with it,” Phillips said.
To help ease those stressors, CW provides assistance with childcare, transportation, work clothes, and mental and physical health care for the entire family, as well as assistance to help with any other barriers to employment.
The biggest impact the organization has had, though, has been on Phillips himself, who says he is amazed at the strength of the human spirit. He recalled attending a CW participant’s wedding.
“This big, tall guy ran over to me and picked me up off the floor. He said that without the CW, he’d be dead right now. That was powerful.”
According to its own statistics, CW has placed more than 9,000 people in the workforce since it opened its doors in 1996.
Phillips is now traveling the nation sharing the CW model with other communities.
“Poverty is totally unacceptable in our society,” Phillips said. “It’s a condition that strips people of all human dignity. It’s time for citizens to say it is our responsibility and it’s time to say ‘no’ to poverty.”
Is it one big, happy family or life in a bubble?
We asked that question of Allison Leigh, director of Marianist strategies in the Office for Mission and Rector. Her doctoral dissertation was on “The Catholic and Marianist Culture at the University of Dayton as Revealed Through Student Voices.”
People at UD know there is a distinctive culture here but often have a hard time articulating it. They speak of “that feeling you get on campus” or describe it as a friendly and hospitable place where people open doors for one another.
Sometimes they describe it as life in a bubble.
Being both friendly and insular seems paradoxical. Perhaps not. Those who see life here as life in a bubble are quick to emphasize the importance of “bursting the bubble” by getting off campus into the city or going overseas on an immersion trip.
According to students, the “UD bubble” can be positive, helping them connect to each other and giving them pride in a shared experience, but UD also encourages gaining new perspectives beyond the bubble.
Inside and outside the bubble, relationships are the foundation of students’ growth.
In doing my research, I heard students speak of how living, socializing and praying together helped them understand and appreciate differences between themselves and others as well as learn about their own strengths and weaknesses. They spoke of the importance of finding a smaller community — whether in a living-and-learning program, Campus Ministry or Greek life — with whom one shares the same values, of the role such communities play in discovering one’s vocation.
The first Marianists — lay and religious — came together in small groups. The members of these sodalities, or faith communities, were united by shared values. As with today’s students, they also believed that education can happen anywhere. Students I talked with spoke of learning in their courses,
in co-curriculars and in campus employment.
And students today, like those early Marianists, are looking beyond their small communities. Like the Marianist founders, today’s UD students believe they can transform the Church and the world.No Comments
When a health trauma leads to a mental health crisis, medical professionals and patients have a new, groundbreaking resource for ensuring a patient’s emotional health isn’t on the
Michelle Flaum Hall ’02 nearly lost her life when she gave birth.
She went to the hospital anxious and excited to meet her daughter. But as doctors induced labor, she suffered the most severe type of hemorrhage and required 18 units of blood — the equivalent of the entire blood supply of a person plus half that of another.
She underwent an emergency Caesarean and a life-saving hysterectomy. She spent five days in the intensive care unit and developed pneumonia.
A steady stream of health care professionals visited her room to give her additional units of blood, monitor her vital signs, check her incision, look for infection, adjust her IVs, administer painkillers and closely monitor her physical recovery. But, Hall says, “My emotional needs weren’t even on the radar.”
Now, she is working to change that for other patients.
Hall, a graduate of the counselor education program, and her husband, Scott Hall, associate professor of counselor education and human services, have written a new guide for health care professionals that, for the first time, describes best practices for treating medical trauma in health care settings.
They say the need was clear: Too often, the emotional costs of medical experiences go undetected, untreated and unvoiced. It is staggering to think about the number of people who might be affected, they write. Every minute in the United States, one person will have a heart attack and two will suffer strokes; every hour, nearly six women will suffer grave complications while giving birth, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Their book, Managing the Psychological Impact of Medical Trauma: A Guide for Mental Health and Healthcare Professionals, offers models for how to bring mental health professionals into the treatment team to ensure a patient’s emotional health isn’t on the back burner. It also gives doctors, nurses and students the tools and strategies they need to recognize signs of stress in patients and their families.
“Health care has really become a team sport, in a sense. But what we have seen is mental health is still sometimes separated, or even absent,” said Michelle Flaum Hall, an associate professor in counseling at Xavier University.
“We want to put the need for mental and emotional well-being on the radar for health care professionals and for patients,” Scott Hall added. “It starts with awareness.”
Building a bridge
There’s never been a better time to work to bridge the gap between mental and physical health care to better meet the needs of patients, the Halls write in their book. Medicine has made great strides in treating the whole person, but more can be done to address the emotional effects of medical trauma.
“In medicine, it’s often only about doing the surgery, making sure this person is healing properly and getting the right medication,” Michelle Flaum Hall said. “There’s nothing that says, ‘You might really struggle emotionally following this surgery. Here are some signs of depression or anxiety, and here are the resources that can help you.’”
The Halls drew on their own experiences as patients and professionals to develop tools that allow clinicians to be much more proactive about protecting a patient’s emotional well being.
One tool, the Medical Mental Health Screening, helps doctors flag risk factors in patients before a surgery or treatment. It asks patients to mark “yes” or “no” on a series of statements, such as “I have experienced depression at some time in my life” or “I tend to be pessimistic about many things (for example, the future or my health).” It also gauges whether the patient is worried about going under anesthesia or how their families will cope with the illness or procedure.
Other tools help monitor the patient’s emotional well-being after a procedure, including the Secondary 7-Lifestyle Effects Screening. The checklist also uses “yes” or “no” questions, such as, “Since my medical procedure/diagnoses, I have had to alter my life plan or have been unable to reach important milestones (for example, delayed graduation or marriage, relocation).”
Also included are tools Michelle Flaum Hall developed as part of her work on a maternal safety bundle for the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care. The materials lay out what every hospital should have in place to support women, their families and health care providers when the unexpected happens, said Christine H. Morton, research sociologist at Stanford University and program manager for the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative.
“The impact for this work in the area of maternity care is potentially quite high,” said Morton, who worked with Michelle Flaum Hall as part of the council. “This book is essential reading for every maternity care clinician in the United States.”
The assessments, available online at hawthorneintegrative.com, are also important for many patients because it can be difficult to recognize what is happening to them emotionally. Physicians need interventions and strategies in place automatically, as the Halls write, as a “safety net to ensure that fewer patients who experience medical trauma ‘slip through the cracks’ of a health care system that can sometimes have a singular focus on caring for the physical body at the expense of all else.”
“We’re all responsible,” Michelle Flaum Hall said. “It doesn’t end when the patient walks out the hospital doors. We have to do a better job of protecting patients’ mental health.”
A personal journey
Medical trauma goes beyond what is obviously a traumatic event — like someone in a car crash who is rushed to the hospital in an ambulance with life-threatening injuries. Any kind of medical experience can be medical trauma. There are different levels of trauma, and many just aren’t on the radar, the Halls write.
Patients can also suffer emotional effects later — long after a hospital stay or doctor’s visit.
“Patients can suffer what we call a secondary crisis,” said Scott Hall, whose more than two decades of experience as a counselor includes work with veterans who experience trauma. “A traumatic event can impact them in terms of their careers, their relationships and in developmental milestones. And sometimes that impact might not show up for three months, six months, 12 months.”
Scott Hall said he gained insight into secondary crises after he had lower-back surgery and realized he could no longer do taekwondo with his daughter. Their weekly lessons had been a bonding time over the eight years they earned black belts together. With his surgery, he was not able to achieve the second-degree black belt they had been working toward, although his daughter did.
“I couldn’t do taekwondo anymore. I couldn’t do the kicks or the twists. I had to stop doing the very thing we shared for years, and in some ways it redefined our relationship,” he said.
“I had to think about what the new normal was, and what else in my life I needed to modify,” he said. “And I realized: If I’m experiencing this, how many modifications are other people trying to make in their lives by themselves as a result of health care? It highlights the need on a much larger scale of how there are deficits in the health care system.”
Scott Hall, whose experience as a patient is built into a case study in the book, said he has addressed similar issues with patients and friends. It could be someone who can no longer play golf. Or someone who can no longer run with their husband, wife, son or daughter because of an orthopedic injury — an example they use in the book.
“It’s the kind of medical event that a lot of people would say is outpatient surgery — no big deal,” Michelle Flaum Hall said. “The focus of recovery is very much on managing pain and recapturing whatever mobility may be possible. But something like an orthopedic injury and surgery can be the first of many dominos to fall in someone’s life, because all of a sudden they’re not as mobile and they’re not engaging in aspects of their lifestyles that are really important to them.”
Even for professionals, it can be difficult to recognize the signs of depression and get treatment. Michelle Flaum Hall described herself in the hospital as “utterly drained” and “exhausted, raw and very fragile.” In a daze, she did not ask for mental health care.
“If anyone on my treatment team had enlisted the help of a mental health professional … then I could have begun treatment for what eventually became PTSD,” she wrote for Nursing for Women’s Health. She notes PTSD refers to a long-term clinical set of symptoms, which for her stemmed from the magnitude and complexity of the trauma she experienced and the fact that she spent several more days in the hospital where the trauma originally occurred.
Sharing her story in the Nursing for Women’s Health clinical journal started the Halls’ journey to write the book. Through new connections, the Halls pitched the idea for the book and received almost immediate acceptance.
“It’s been a very personal journal for me,” Michelle Flaum Hall said, “because it’s been about ensuring the suffering I endured was not in vain, and I could potentially make a difference, even in a small way in sharing my story.”
Michelle and Scott Hall hope their book can revolutionize the way mental health and health care professionals work together to better meet the needs of patients. From current practitioners to better training protocols, their goal is to have this model at the forefront of people’s minds when they approach their work with patients.
And while the book is written for health care professionals, the message has resonated outside the industry.
“People reached out with their personal stories of being patients or knowing patients, and knowing how painful emotionally these experiences can be,” Michelle Flaum Hall said. “They just wanted to say ‘thank you’ for bringing awareness because there was a hopefulness that something would change.”1 Comment
Over 16 days, I traveled a lot and saw a lot of basketball. The A-10 women’s tournament in Richmond. The men’s A-10 in Pittsburgh. The First Four in Dayton. The NCAAs in Indianapolis and Louisville.
Now basketball is but a thing on television until November.
But there are memories. Both Dayton teams playing hard and together. The UC Davis men celebrating the program’s first Division I tournament appearance with a victory. The Tennessee women — a program that has played in every women’s NCAA in history.
And the arenas: Richmond — “Think Hara Arena,” said a friend comparing the Coliseum to a Dayton landmark; Pittsburgh — you can tell the building is home to a hockey team; Dayton — the all-time-record-holding NCAA host; Indianapolis — where there was some green among the red on St. Patrick’s Day; and Louisville — a friend who is a native of that city, noted, “College basketball is king and queen in Kentucky.”
And food in the different cities: Richmond, where former UD Mag editor Matt Dewald led me to a different nationality restaurant each meal; Pittsburgh, now a foodie heaven; a nice meal in Indy; and then Louisville, where at a restaurant with 100 bourbons on the menu you can eat tortellini with ham and black-eyed peas.
But mostly I remember the people: friends, relatives, the Flyer News sports editor whom I sat next to on press row in Indy, the reporters from Nashville who showed me how find the media gate under the bridge in Louisville, relatives of players, fans of all ages.
UD is often described in clichés — we open doors for one another, we are family, we travel well.
I remember professor Joe Pici a half century ago asking, “What really is a cliché?”
What if it is true?No Comments
In Roesch Library this spring, Mary’s Star will bloom alongside Easter Spikes, with Mary’s Tears falling near Our Lady’s Veil.
Flowers named for Mary, the Mother of Christ — commonly known as daffodil, hyacinth, bleeding heart and baby’s breath — will be part of the live garden exhibit being planted in the first-floor library gallery space. Mary’s Gardens is open to the public March 25 to May 10 during library hours.
Gardens were first planted specifically for Mary as early as the seventh century. In the early 1950s, John S. Stokes Jr. revived the tradition and brought it to America. His Mary’s Garden research is housed in a special collection at UD’s Marian Library.
“It is really a unique approach to library exhibits,” said Sarah Cahalan, director of the Marian Library, which houses the largest collection in the world of printed materials and artifacts on Mary. “This is an opportunity for everyone to think about how gardening can play a role in their lives and to reflect on the spirituality of our interactions with nature.”
Visitors can stroll down paved paths, reflect at the statue “Seat of Wisdom” and learn about the naming of flowers for Mary, a tradition that stretches back to medieval times. The exhibit, planned by the Library Advisory Committee including Georgiana Nye ’70, Sue Ellen Anderson Boesch ’67 and Linda Arvin Skuns ’63, will also include prayer and meditation opportunities.
Portions of the gardens will be replanted four times to showcase flowers from the four seasons. Marty Grunder ’90 contributed the garden design, and his company, Grunder Landscaping, will plant and maintain the
The exhibit also includes paintings of flowers inspired by Mary by artist Holly Schapker on the library’s seventh floor, and items from Stokes’ personal collection on display on the second floor. Tours will be held April 8 and April 29, and advance registration on the Mary’s Gardens website is recommended.
Much of Stokes’ collection, including planting guides, is also available online.
“Stokes really wanted to make Mary’s Gardens accessible,” Cahalan said. “They were meant to be places of meditation and prayer, and he wanted them to be available even in the hustle and bustle of modern life. He wanted there to be options for people who didn’t have a lot of space or time, so he had suggestions for kitchen gardens, dish gardens. There isn’t just one way to plant a Mary’s Garden. It can be different things to different people.”
For an indoor dish garden, Stokes suggested the hedge-hog cactus, known as Lady’s Finger, with its magenta pink blooms.
For outdoor planting, he offered the pansy — Our Lady’s Delight — for spring blooms and the sunflower — Mary’s Gold — for summer.
Visitors can take a virtual tour of the garden after the exhibit opens. For information on the video, tours, online collection and parking, visit go.udayton.edu/marysgardens.
Mary’s Botanical Beauty, on display
Campanula glomerata (Canterbury Bells) “Our Lady’s Nightcap”
Cyclamen “Our Lady’s Little Ladles”
Daffodils “Mary’s Star”
Dianthus (Pink) “Our Lady’s Cushion”
Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Heart) “Mary’s Tears”
Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove) “Our Lady’s Gloves”
Gypsophila (Baby’s Breath) “Our Lady’s Veil”
Hemerocallis (Daylily) “Eve’s Thread”
Hyacinth “Easter Spikes”
Iris sibirica “Mary’s Sword”
Lavendula a. (Lavender) “Mary’s Drying Plant”
Chrysanthemum (Mum) “All Saints Flower”
Paeonia (Peony) “Mary’s Rose”
Begonia x hiemalis (Rieger Begonia) “Mary’s Fringe”
Rudbeckia f.f (Black-eyed Susan) “Golden Jerusalem”
Rosa x (Rose) “Mary’s Thorn”
Thuja o. (Arborvitae) “Tree of Life”
Tulips “Mary’s Prayer”
Some people send donations to their favorite charity or nonprofit. Others roll up their sleeves and get dirty doing hands-on volunteer work.
Justin Everett ’11, a communication data analyst in UD’s Enrollment Management Communication Center, is more than happy to roll up his sleeve as well to promote his cause — but not for the reasons most would expect.
Last fall, Everett became a walking billboard for the American Red Cross, getting a tattoo of the organization’s logo on his left arm. It’s certainly a conversation starter, which is exactly what Everett wants.
“I never wanted a tattoo before, but we thought it would be a great way to spread the word about pediatric CPR,” Everett said.
He credits his knowledge of pediatric CPR — and taking numerous Red Cross-sponsored courses in the procedure — for saving his infant daughter’s life.
Little Sawyer Everett and twin brother Korben were born six weeks before their due date in 2015. Both had lung issues and breathing complications from birth, and one month later, Sawyer experienced a near-fatal choking spell.
Justin first learned pediatric CPR in an American Red Cross class as a teen lifeguard and took refresher courses for years after that — including one shortly before his children’s birth. After seeing Sawyer go rigid, pass out and then become limp, Everett knew he had to act immediately.
While his wife, Brittany, called 911, Everett began working to open Sawyer’s airways, as she’d gone two minutes without breathing. He delivered rescue breaths and chest compressions, and finally, she gasped. When paramedics arrived, they were able to stabilize her, although she had turned ghastly white and was still in a limp state.
His quick work saved her life.
“Pediatric CPR is totally different than adult CPR,” Everett said. “I went 15 years never having to perform CPR on anyone, and all of a sudden, I had to do it for my 5-pound daughter.”
When the twins grew older, their organs developed more fully and one day, their breathing issues stopped. Sawyer has no lingering developmental issues related to the lack of oxygen she suffered during the choking episode, Everett said, and both children will turn 2 this summer.
As for the tattoo, Everett and his wife wanted a permanent way to thank the American Red Cross for its services and give a visible call to action to others. Brand representatives from the national organization supported his idea wholeheartedly when he contacted them, down to sending ideas and helping him pick a final design.
In January, national leaders from the Red Cross traveled to Cincinnati, where they recognized Everett and his family in person for his awareness-raising effort and for rescuing his daughter.
Now, when he talks to people about his tattoo, he tells them to sign up for a pediatric CPR class. They could eventually save a life.2 Comments
For the past year, UD’s 19th president has been listening, discussing and discerning how the University’s distinctive character can propel us forward as a national, Catholic leader in higher education.
On Tuesday, April 4, Eric F. Spina will share his preliminary thoughts on the University’s future during his installation ceremony, the centerpiece event of the University of Dayton inauguration celebration April 2-5. The ceremony will be streamed live on the University’s Facebook page.
Spina, who became University president July 1, 2016, has participated in 15 strategic visioning events, during which board members, alumni, donors, faculty, staff and community leaders have offered thoughts on what makes UD distinctive and what the University should work toward during the next 20 years. “While there is more work to do to achieve the bold, aspirational vision that is the objective, this foundational work clearly positions the University of Dayton for success,” Spina said.
The visioning committee, led by Provost Paul Benson and MPA Program Director Michelle Pautz, presented this spring some emerging, signature themes that will be refined into a strategic vision that looks ahead 20 years. These include:
The installation ceremony at UD Arena will include an official commissioning of the president by both the University board of trustees and the Marianist Province of the United States. It will also feature two dozen members of the Flyer family speaking about “Our UD” during an imaginative inauguration filled with tradition and surprises.
Inauguration events are free and open to the public. Click for a complete list and to register for the events.1 Comment