‘Now I can look out for myself and others’: Red Cross award honoree shares the First Aid basics that kept a co-worker alive

By Angela Glowacki, American Red Cross 

“If my story gets one person to sign up for Red Cross training, then I did something.” – Kevin Arrowood

Kevin Arrowood is an employee at Borregaard LignoTech, in north-central Wisconsin, a company that offers American Red Cross CPR/Adult First Aid/AED training to its employees. In late 2019, Kevin, along with two other employees, took part in this training. A few weeks later, that same training would help save a fellow co-worker’s life.

Kevin and honors

Arrowood smiles with his Certificate of Merit honors for life-saving action based on Red Cross training.

In January, Kevin said one of his co-workers appeared sweaty, out of sorts and was complaining of headaches. Based on his Red Cross training, Kevin feared his co-worker could be having a stroke. He sat the co-worker down, and then alerted nearby colleagues, Emily Ertl, Peter Lawrence, and Maria Bandell. The four of them worked together in calling 9-1-1 and keeping their co-worker calm and conscious until EMTs arrived.

During a talk with Kevin in July, he talked about how he was able to use the knowledge he gained from the Red Cross training to take action.

“When you look back on it, you can tell something was off” with the co-worker, even though he and Kevin had not known each other well. “It reminded me of the signs of a stroke and reminded me [it was important] to calm him down.”

For their efforts, Kevin, Emily and Peter were given the Certificate of Merit, highest honor the Red Cross bestows upon a citizen. The Certificate is signed by the President of the United States, and is accompanied by a medal and a pin. Even though she had not participated in the First Aid training, Maria’s integral action in helping the team and her co-worker earned her the Extraordinary Personal Action Certificate. The team was surprised with the honors after sharing their story during a Wisconsin Region North Central Chapter board virtual meeting in July, and then an in-person presentation the following day at their workplace in Rothschild, Wisc.


You can find a life-saving training near you that fits your schedule. Click here to find a schedule for trainings on CPR, First Aid and more from the American Red Cross.


On the day of the incident, the coworker who indeed suffered a stroke was taken to the hospital. Months later, that co-worker has recovered and “you would never know” the serious health scare he went through, thanks in part to the quick work of his colleagues. He’s back at work and was able to share in the special presentation of the awards and the story sharing at the Rothschild manufacturer in mid-July.

Borregaard Group With Logo 07162020

Wendy Savage, in white, meets with the team that used Red Cross First Aid training to help save a co-worker’s life, during an award presentation in July at Borregaard in Rothschild.

“Now I can look out for myself and others”, Kevin said.

Jen Marzu, an employee at Borregaard and the Red Cross instructor who trained Kevin and his coworkers, voiced how proud she is of her team that they were able to work together to save a life.

“I trained my first responders to take care of the situation … it made me feel good that I knew they were all in good hands” Jen shared during the board meeting. She said about half their employees have taken this training, which ranks above their workplace requirements.

The president of the company, Paul Hendricks, joined the virtual meeting for the story and surprise recognitions. Paul also voiced his appreciation for the workers and the Red Cross for providing the lifesaving training.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our employees and how they reacted. We also have to thank the resources that the Red Cross supplies,” he said. “[It is] fantastic guidance”.

To find out more about the Certificate of Merit and to nominate someone, visit this page.

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