‘The main award is that my daughter is alive’: Red Cross trainer recognized for use of life-saving skills at home

By Angela Glowacki, American Red Cross

Gavin Walsh made it a priority to learn CPR and First Aid in his adult years, even going on to become a trainer of those skills.

It was that training which kicked into place in his own home to help his young daughter avert disaster – and earn Gavin a national recognition.

In 2017 around Thanksgiving, Gavin’s daughter, who was two-and-a-half-years old at the time, took a grape from the dinner table and went back to her room to eat it.

Gavin TWO

After sharing his life-saving story, Gavin Walsh, top left, was awarded the Certificate of Merit from the American Red Cross, presented during a board meeting to Wisconsin Region COO Tom Mooney, bottom right.

“For some reason, something told me to look down the hallway to where she was,” Gavin shared in July during a virtual meeting of the Southwest Wisconsin Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Turned out, Gavin saw his daughter had begun to choke on the grape. He recognized these signs of choking and gave his daughter back blows. On the third strike, the grape was dislodged from her airway.


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.


 

Gavin had been taking CPR classes through the Red Cross since he was a young adult and had been renewing his certification every two years.

“I believe the training that I got gave me the knowledge to know what to do even though I was panicked,” Gavin shared. “I don’t know how I would have reacted if I didn’t have that training.”

Gavin went on to discuss why training was so important to him: “When we take the training, we don’t think about actually using it … but from taking the training, it’s made me realize that …. We never know what’s going to happen.”

For his action, Gavin was awarded the Certificate of Merit, the 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.

“I am thankful to the Red Cross for the training. It’s an honor to get the award, but it is humbling too. The main award is that my daughter is alive,” Gavin said when surprised with the award during the board meeting.

During this meeting, he stressed how important it was to receive this training, “These skills actually work and save lives and its these skills that are the reason that my daughter is still alive today.”

It was the second time in as many weeks that the Wisconsin Region of the Red Cross was able to recognize life-saving actions by people who have taken First Aid and CPR training. A group at a Rothschild manufacturer were awarded for their efforts in saving the life of a co-worker.

To recognize someone who has saved a life with Red Cross training in your community, share their story on this page.

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