Greenfield’s Life-Saver Receives National Award

At only 11 years-old, Abram Suminski of Greenfield, Wisconsin, is a official recipient of the American Red Cross Certificate of Merit for selfless and humane action in saving a life. This is the highest award given by the Red Cross to an individual or team of individuals who saves or sustains life by using skills and knowledge learned in the American Red Cross Preparedness, Health and Safety Services courses.

When Abram Suminski was learning first aid basics in an American Red Cross Babysitter’s training course, I doubt he knew how quickly he’d be putting them to use in a real-life situation. Good thing he was prepared though when his younger brother, Logan, was in need. Shortly after, the brothers were playing in their grandmother’s basement when Logan started to choke on a piece a candy. Abram saw his brother turning purple and jumped into action to perform abdominal thrusts. His quick actions dislodged the piece of candy from Logan’s throat, saving his life!

Abram’s instructor from the Babysitter’s training course heard of his life-saving story, and she, along with the Greenfield Rec. Department (where the training took place), nominated Abram for the Red Cross Certificate of Merit, which is signed by the President Barack Obama, who is the Honorary Chairman of the American Red Cross!


Abram Suminski holding his award with the help of his younger brother, Logan.

On Tuesday night at the Greenfield Common Council Meeting, Abram received the Red Cross Certificate of Merit. The Mayor of Greenfield, Michael J. Neitzke, and local Red Cross CEO, Patty Flowers, had the honor of presenting the award to Abram. In attendance, were some very special guests including Abram’s family, the vice principle of his school, his Red Cross instructor and the Greenfield Fire Department.

If you’re thinking about signing up for a Red Cross training course, don’t hesitate – be prepared! Information about the Red Cross Babysitting course, First Aid, CPR/AED and other training courses are available at

To see live action watch the Fox 6 news clip!


It is not too late to Give a Gift that Keeps Giving!

Anna Reid, a 15-year-old babysitter from Westfield, NJ wasn’t expecting to be a hero. It just happened. Anna was serving up French bread pizza to Matthew and Leia on a recent babysitting job when the unimaginable happened: Leia started choking.

The 4-year-old’s face turned bright red. Leia tried to cough and speak but couldn’t.

Anna acted quickly, giving Leia five back blows followed by some abdominal thrusts. It worked. Anna saved Leia’s life.

Anna’s mom explained that when she asked Anna how she knew what to do, Anna replied, “I’m not sure I could have told you what to do, but I knew what to do. I knew what to do when I needed to do it.” Anna said because her Red Cross training had her perform CPR in the class, rather than just show it, she immediately remembered how to respond in the moment.

“I have to say that’s really a great testimony to the kind of training that the American Red Cross offers…,” said Anna’s mom.

Leia’s lucky she had a prepared babysitter like Anna. If you were in a situation where someone was choking, would you know what to do? Take our one-minute quiz and find out!

If you want to become a certified babysitter, sign up for a Red Cross class!

Designed for 11 to 15 year olds, the Babysitter’s Training course can help your youngster—

  • Care for children and infants.
  • Be a good leader and role model.
  • Make good decisions and solve problems.
  • Handle emergencies such as injuries, illnesses and household accidents.
  • Write resumes and interview for jobs.
  • And much more!

Throughout the Eastern WI area Babysitter Trainings are being offered on the following dates:

Babysitter Training Courses – $85

Friday, December 28th 8:30 am – 4 pm

American Red Cross Oshkosh Office

Saturday, January 12th 8:30 am – 4 pm

American Red Cross Green Bay office

Saturday, January 12th 8:30 am – 4 pm

American Red Cross Scenic Shores Chapter, Manitowoc

Saturday, January 19th 8:30 am – 4 pm

American Red Cross Outagamie Chapter

Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to register today.

Can You Put a Price on Lifesaving Training??

Many people don’t see the value in First Aid/CPR/AED training.  It may be the cost of the training, the effort it takes to keep the certification up-to-date or the thought that one would never have to use it.  What if you came across an emergency that involved your family member, friend, coworker, neighbor or even yourself?  Would that change your view on the importance of life-saving training?

If you’re not quite convinced, take a moment to read the story below about a 12 year-old grandson saving his grandfather’s life when he began choking.  This is just one example of the importance of being trained.

Grandson Saves Choking Grandfather

Thursday, January 26, — When twelve-year-old Landon Tucker took American Red Cross training in First Aid and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), little did he know he would use that training to help his grandfather when he choked while eating breakfast.

Carl McGowan and his grandson were home alone recently, enjoying breakfast, when a piece of sausage became lodged in McGowan’s throat. His wife Martha and a neighbor, who happens to be a paramedic, were both at work.

McGowan knew his grandson had taken the Red Cross classes at school, and asked Tucker if he knew what to do. Tucker said he had been trained, but had never actually performed the skills on anyone.

“I told him now would be a good time to try it,” Carl said. “He was scared. He tried to help me and was successful after several tries.”

McGowan credits Tucker with saving his life and is thankful his grandson had access to Red Cross training. “Being trained is very important,” Carl said. “Landon saved me. I want to thank him for everything he did.”

The Red Cross has information available for download on how to help someone – adult, child or infant – who is choking, and how to perform back blows and abdominal thrusts.

The Red Cross also offers classes in First Aid, CPR and the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator), and recommends that at least one person in every household be trained. People can also take Red Cross babysitter and lifeguard training, learn how to swim, take training on first aid for use in wilderness and remote settings, sports safety training, even first aid for pets. Classes are available for individuals as well as for businesses and organizations.

According to a Red Cross survey, many have witnessed someone choking. One person in ten surveyed reported they needed help themselves because they had choked on something. Most often, 57 percent of the time, a family member came to their aid, while in 30 percent of the instances the people had to help themselves. The survey also revealed that most choking incidents occur at home, with a high percentage also occurring in a restaurant.

This year there’s still plenty of time to resolve to protect yourself and your loved ones by taking a Red Cross class. Landon Tucker and his grandfather understand the importance of First Aid training firsthand and now know what to do when an emergency occurs.

Right Place, Right Time, Right Skills

Tuesday, June 01, 2010 — The importance of being ready for a life-threatening emergency hit home recently for Kim Cottrell when her son began to choke and was helped by two American Red Cross volunteers. National CPR/AED Awareness Week, which starts today, can be a great time to sign up for training that could potentially save a life.

“I always thought I’d know what to do,” said Cottrell as she watched her 5-year-old son Joshua run and jump around the playground.A few days earlier, Cottrell had been helping a neighbor whose home was damaged by the floods that inundated much of Tennessee. They were sorting through soaked photos, pulling them apart and laying them out to dry with hopes of salvaging some of their family memories.

Suddenly, Cottrell heard Joshua coughing, and knew something wasn’t right. He gagged, his eyes began to get glassy and his skin started to change colors. That’s when Cottrell’s maternal instincts leapt into action. She grabbed Joshua and attempted to administer abdominal thrusts.  

Meanwhile, Robert and Charles, two American Red Cross volunteers, were down the street working with a neighbor to determine what assistance they would need from the Red Cross. They heard a woman screaming, “A baby’s choking—come quickly!”  

Immediately, the two sprinted after the woman and found Joshua, still gagging. Cottrell remembers everything happening so fast that she was unsure exactly how the next moments played out.  

Charles yelled for Robert to call 9-1-1 while he grabbed Joshua and started “doing what [his] training says to do,” which was to administer back blows. A few seconds later, the piece of gum that Joshua had attempted to eat dislodged from his airway and he was able to breathe again.  

The boy looked at Charles and said, “I ate too big of a piece of candy—I shoulda cut it in half.” All his parents could do was nervously laugh with relief as their spunky child’s charm didn’t skip a beat, even though he knew how dangerous the situation he just survived was. 

Charles gave Joshua some water and made sure he was going to be ok. Less than 20 minutes later, Joshua was playing as if nothing had happened. Cottrell had taken a CPR/first aid course many years ago for her job, but the skills were no longer fresh in her mind.  

“Not only do you need to get trained, but you need to stay educated,” she said. Cottrell’s family is incredibly grateful that the Red Cross volunteers were at the right place at the right time, and believe that parents need to be more trained so that they will know exactly how to respond if anything happens to their child.

Get Trained
Life-threatening emergencies such as choking are more common than you might think. According to a recent Red Cross survey, more than a quarter (28%) of people have witnessed someone choking. Family members are the most likely to help in these incidents.

In addition, one in four (27%) has been in a situation where someone may have needed CPR. Go to to find your local chapter and get trained in CPR/AED and first aid.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at

Red Cross Participates in Super Bowl of Safety

Eye-catching lessons at Superbowl of Safety reveal everyday dangers: By Richard Ryman • • January 31, 2010

Hula hoops, Coast Guard helicopters and firefighters everywhere, the 11th Superbowl of Safety kept kids busy and occasionally in awe Saturday in the Lambeau Field Atrium.

Justine Lodl of Safe Kids said information and fun stuff to do make a good teaching combination, and reinforcing safety lessons can’t be done too often.

“Safety isn’t something you teach a kid once and never go back and do it again,” she said.

The event was sponsored by Bellin Health and Safe Kids of Greater Green Bay.

At the Red Cross booth, Linda Wallenfang was teaching how to help someone who was choking. Dalton Kohlbeck, 11, a fifth-grader at Jackson Elementary School, patted the back of the training dummy, trying to dislodge an obstruction. Well, pounded more than patted.

“Yeah, it’s hard,” said Kohlbeck, who said he’d need more practice before trying it on a live person.

The event included tips for keeping children safe from poisons, accidents and other health hazards. Other topics included proper 911 dialing, car seats, crime prevention, household chemicals and water safety.

Kameron Ahnen, 11, of Chappell Elementary School, watched as a Wisconsin Public Service Corp. representative demonstrated what happens when people touch downed power lines. When the small metal model of a man touched a tree branch leaning against a power line, there were sparks everywhere.

“Whenever (the model) put his hand on the tree, he got all electrocuted,” Ahnen said.

He added that it was something he was not likely to forget.

On a stage near the escalators, Morghan Dufresne, 8, and Makayla Brown, 8, of Chappell Elementary School, displayed their Hula Hooping skills with notable enthusiasm.

“She steals my (trick) hoop away from me all the time,” said Mary Pulak of Hooked on Hooping, who shared the stage with her two students. “They make it look easy.”

Dufresne twirled a hoop over her head as Pulak spoke, then motioning toward her friend Brown, said, “I just taught her that. It took five minutes.”

Debbie Leoni, Bellin Health community outreach coordinator, said health also is a safety issue. She said teaching kids to have fun with activities such as Hula Hooping allows them to exercise without realizing it.

She said about 1,600 people and 30 presenting organizations attended Saturday’s four-hour event.