By Scott E. Toncray, APR
Hayley Lewis, 21, Miss Tennessee 2014 recently preformed lifesaving skills she learned from being an American Red Cross Certified Lifeguard. A fellow pageant contestant choked on a piece of chicken and Lewis’ instincts kicked in enabling her to clear the airway of the other contestant who is also her friend. Lewis also had to preform CPR on a drowning victim when she was a lifeguard. “I just figured that it was time to renew my skills realizing how important they are,” Lewis said following the First Aid and CPR class at the Nashville Area chapter of the American Red Cross. Sixteen other participants were certified the same night as Hayley. Her story was featured on the local Fox News affiliate.
“I can’t imagine anyone not being around who could help someone if they needed it to prolong their life,” Lewis said encouraging others to take the class and become certified. Lewis participated in a blended course that includes both online and practical classroom experience with learning totaling approximately 5 hours. “Life threatening situations can happen to anyone and I wanted to learn skills so that I could help someone again if they ever need it,” Lewis explained.
Miss Lewis will represent the state of Tennessee in the 2015 Miss America Competition on Sept. 9-14, 2014 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In the Nashville area, nearly 7,000 people a year receive Red Cross training in CPR, first aid and other skills that help save lives. The American Red Cross offers courses where ordinary people can learn extraordinary lifesaving skills, such as how to perform CPR, how to use an AED, what to do if someone is choking, and how to prevent and respond to other emergencies until advanced medical help arrives.
Visit redcross.org/takeaclass or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767, option 3) for more information and to register for a class.
Scott Toncray is a public affairs volunteer for the Nashville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross and serves on the Advanced Public Affairs Team.