1 minute readHealth & Safety
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Ames Davis’ Story: Carrying on Her Grandfather’s Red Cross Legacy

Ames Davis holding her grandfather's original Red Cross Lifesaving Award and his updated award.
Ames with Lyle’s original Lifesaving Award (right), that had suffered water damage, and a newly printed Lifesaving Award (left) that Red Cross Training Services printed in his name for Ames to keep.

Ames Davis has always had a passion for the American Red Cross and joined the organization three years ago as Executive Director of the Red Cross El Paso and Southern New Mexico Region. Little did she know that when she accepted the position, she was carrying on her grandfather’s long history with the organization.

When Ames first applied for the position of Executive Director, her grandmother confessed that she knew Ames would get the job. “You’re your grandfather’s legacy,” she told Ames. At the time, Ames didn’t know what she meant but, a year later, when her grandmother passed, Ames had an unexpected visitor approach her at the funeral service who helped shed light on her grandmother’s words.

Before the service, Ames’s cousin handed her a Clara Barton Award and a Red Cross Lifesaving Award that belonged to Lyle Morgan; her grandfather. The Lifesaving Award had been issued to Lyle, a former Red Cross Lifeguard and CPR & First Aid Instructor, for his heroic actions to save a woman, named Maria, from drowning back in 1974.

Lyle's Red Cross Lifesaving Award that was issued in 1974.

“My grandfather recovered Maria from the bottom of the pool and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation; restoring life to her. However, the story doesn’t stop there. Unbeknownst to my grandfather, Maria was pregnant at the time of this incident and both lives were saved,” Ames said.

After the funeral service, a woman approached Ames and asked if she worked for the Red Cross. Ames confirmed she did, having received the Executive Director position, and asked the woman how she knew her grandmother. She said, “I didn’t – I came because you work for the Red Cross and your grandfather saved my life.”

The woman was Maria, the person Lyle had saved from a near-fatal drowning incident over 40 years ago. Maria had come to pay respects to the people in Lyle’s life because he had saved hers.

Shortly after this greeting, Ames also learned that her grandfather had been an American Red Cross lifeguard, CPR & First Aid instructor and Disaster Chair of Hidalgo County, Texas, for 32 years.  He even received a Clara Barton Award for his dedication and service to the Red Cross.

Reflecting on all she had learned about her grandfather, Ames admits “I had no idea at the time that I had such big shoes to fill.”

Get Trained

You can make a difference like Ames and Lyle — learn lifesaving skills with the Red Cross by visiting redcross.org/takeaclass.