By Pete Turok
“No pulse, no breath.”
Those were the words from the police officer at the scene at Home Depot where I watched a man dying. The rest of the day I felt sick to my stomach, having been unprepared to help save that man’s life. Although I called 911, it simply wasn’t enough.
In order to lessen the queasy feeling from having not been prepared earlier that day, I wanted to create some positive action for myself. I was also clear that I would never want another man to experience that lousy feeling that comes from being unprepared to help someone in need.
Later that same day at our weekly team meeting, I invited my men to join me in getting trained in CPR, AED operation and First Aid response. The entire team was immediately on board.
It was this experience on October 19, 2105 that would inspire me to help make a difference in the lives and health of MDI men … and men everywhere. Within days I was in conversations with men all around our region, inspiring them to join us in getting trained as soon as possible. It was on one of those calls days later with Howard Spierer that I learned that one of our own men, Dave Woititz, 53, dropped dead of a heart attack the night before on October 23 while hiking with his men on a team off-site. I’m not implying CPR training would have saved this man’s life, but it was still a wakeup call for all of us, and a reminder that it can never hurt to be prepared if ever needed.”
CPR/First Aid is a great set of skills that can be gained in a 4-hour training session. In the Mid-Atlantic Region, we have a trainer that will come to us on any evening / any location for 20 or more men. This is right in the strike-zone for MDI’s core values, mission and purpose. For me CPR / First Aid preparedness is simply the anti up to meet a couple of our core tenets: “Be Prepared” and “Defend Humanity.” No doubt, inside of our circles and out, being prepared will save lives in our families and communities.
But inside our circles, I believe that perhaps the real stakes are in being supportable to make the health changes in our lives that can avoid needing CPR all together. What I really care about is helping men to gain the sort of health so they never would need CPR in the first place. That may look different for each of us.
For me, the most challenging part of being on a men’s team is allowing my men to support me, particularly in making meaningful changes in my life, with one of the most important aspects our own physical well-being.
I want to be around for as long as possible to, among other things, see my kids grow up and enjoy grandkids someday. I trust my men to support me by being brutally honest with me when they feel I’m not on my path, and I’m committed to mustering up the courage to be supportable and take action accordingly.
THE CALL From Pete Turok: Please be the leader within your own teams, divisions and regions to have your men “Be Prepared” by learning Basic CPR/AED/First Aid. With Mid-Atlantic Region’s independent, certified trainer who is a NYC Fire Department EMT, the training is only $25/man. It is a great 4-hour bonding opportunity, and can be held at the location and time of our choice. For whatever support you need, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.