It must have been either 1955 or 1956, if I properly recollect through the years, and there was a hush through the classroom. I can still vaguely see the policeman at the front of the class, giving us a talk about safety. I donated my allowance at the time, which was about 25 cents, for a contribution to the American Red Cross. When he was finished, we were presented with a tiny white tin badge announcing to the world that we`d completed our first safety training. Our teacher helped us put them on our shirts. I remember being so proud of that badge that I walked the block around my house for several days trying to find an old lady to help across the street.
Where have the years gone? I worked for the ARC thirty years later, after I received my MA in Health Education. I taught many of their programs in CPR, Safety and First Aid. No telling how many lives I may have saved, helping people learn about the signs and symptoms of heart attacks and strokes, and what to do in case of an emergency. We had an episode years ago while camping at Cedar Key, where we had to summon an ambulance all the way from Gainesville because we believed one of our older friends was having a heart attack.
Today, that`s all behind me, but many of my friends have moved on to the great campground in the sky. Most, from preventable "lifestyle" diseases brought about by incredibly poor eating habits, lack of physical activity, and smoking. I decided to become a Board Certified Health Educator a number of years ago, helping those who WANTED to be helped change poor lifestyles, so they could continue to bring joy to the world and their families for years to come. Health is easy when you have it, but once it`s lost, it`s a hard battle to get it back-some people never do- and end up being prescribed hazardous drugs for the rest of their lives.
On my last visit to CK, I was excited to see that the CK Fire Department, under the direction of Chief Robert Robinson, will soon be providing CPR-AED-First Aid courses to the residents. You`re going to have your eyes opened to how easy it is to help people in emergency situations, and how powerful this new knowledge will make you feel. You might be as proud as I was with my first badge so many years ago! I can`t stress enough the importance of these classes and hope everyone at Cedar Key will consider taking them. They could be a stepping stone to a higher state of health and wellness, and the life you save could be yours-or mine!