At 15, Owen West has a deeper appreciation for life than most kids, or adults for that matter, ever could.
Last fall, when he was just 14, Owen’s heart stopped for 28 seconds. But when he collapsed in the Canton High School cafeteria, staff members sprang into action. They had the training, access to the right equipment and were in the right place at the right time. Their actions are the reason Owen is here today.
Andy Buckle and Diane Sodaro will tell you many were involved in a life-saving events on Sept. 17, 2014 but they clearly played a critical role.
“They gave me a second chance on living,” Owen said. “I don’t think there’s any way to show my gratitude.”
At its 16th annual Community Heroes Breakfast last Friday, the American Red Cross, Connecticut chapter, formally presented the Life Saving Hero Award to Buckle, a school technology specialist as well as a certified first responder, and Sodaro, RN, School Nurse Supervisor.
Owen was in school Friday but the two honorees, town volunteers, UConn medics, school officials and Owen’s parents were among those in attendance.
It was at the end of a lunch period when Owen collapsed in the school cafeteria.
A lunch monitor called for help on the school’s portable radio network.
“I heard the name Diane and student down,” Buckle said. “That was enough to get us all going.”
Owen had no pulse when Buckle and Sodaro arrived. While the two began a series of lifesaving techniques such as airway opening and CPR, assistant Principal Eric Verner arrived with an automated external defibrillator (AED). Sodaro used it to check Owen’s heart rhythms. No one was prepared for what came next. Owen’s heart needed a life-saving shock. … Continue Reading