Herrick seventh grade students in Mr. Kiefling’s class are gaining knowledge that could someday save a life. For the fourth year in a row, CF Industries of Cowden has picked up the tab for these students to be taught first aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) by the American Red Cross during class time.

“We put a lot of emphasis in our plants on safety, our facility in Cowden was built in 1969 and we have gone accident free in the history of that plant,” said Jeff Christian, Plant Superintendent for CF Industries. “That emphasis on safety spills over into our lives outside CF Industries and that is why we have chosen to get behind first aid and CPR.”

Christian went on to say that with many of these Cowden-Herrick students living in rural areas, this kind of training may save a life someday.

Glenda Plunkett, Moultrie-Shelby Service Center Manager for Mid-Illinois American Red Cross teaches these classes. During these lessons, Plunkett brings up examples of how this training has helped save lives in the past.

She talked about an incident in Findlay where a little girl was hit by a car and a student who had this training stepped in to direct assistance and saved the little girl’s life.

“In this incident when the paramedics showed up and the paramedic said ‘you did everything perfectly, how did you know what to do’ and the student answered ‘the Red Cross taught me’ he saved a life that day,” Plunkett said.

Plunkett went on to tell the students that there will be times when they are alone with siblings, or maybe baby-sitting, or come up on an accident where this training can mean the difference between life and death.

Payton Jones is one of those seventh graders taking the class. She said she enjoys this training because it is interesting and the Red Cross instructors are so nice.

“We could actually save a life with this training,” said Jones.

Some sobering facts off the Red Cross Website say seventy-five percent of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the home. CPR can keep a person alive until more advanced procedures (such as defibrillation - an electric shock to the chest) can treat the cardiac arrest.

Again all this is made possible by the generosity of CF Industries, who pays $5 per child for this training.

Herrick Jr. High Principal, Stephen Goebel said the students receive a certificate in CPR as well as first aid.

“We hope to continue this as long as we can and this is through the largess of CF Industries,” said Goebel. “We feel this has been a tremendous success for our kids and our school.”

Teacher Roger Kiefling said he has seen students who did not express interest in many subjects taught in school, but really enjoyed this.

“I always have a few students who are not particularly interested in other subjects, have really jumped on this, and that encourages me,” said Kiefling. “It seems like we have a lot students from our high school in the medical careers and I hope that this is part of that also. Glenda (Plunkett) is very good at pointing out career choices.”

Plunkett said she is always impressed with CF Industries and how they put their money where their mouths are and help provide this training.

“For an industry to not just talk about being a good neighbor but to jump in and really be an active good neighbor like that, and be such an important part of the community, they are my hero,” Plunkett said. “That is just awesome.”

This Week's Circulars