Everyday Heroes Save a Life at Ole Miss

North Mississippi Chapter Executive Director, K.C. Grist, presents Lifesaving award to Shannon Richardson and family during Ole Miss Game on September 11, 2021.

Although Rob Barber doesn’t remember collapsing to the floor while exercising at University of Mississippi’s Rec Center, he is immensely grateful to recreational center staff, Shannon Richardson and Gabby Sokol for using their Red Cross CPR training to save his life after he went into cardiac arrest on December 2.

Within seconds of Rob collapsing, Gabby and Shannon were performing chest compressions, calling emergency services and utilizing the on-site defibrillator in hopes of restarting his heart. Their actions resulted in Rob avoiding any neurological damage and allowed him to quickly receive needed medical attention. Even now, Rob has little recollection of the event but knows that without Gabby and Shannon he might not be alive today. “It is because of their actions that I am alive today” stated Rob about his experience, “needless to say, Shannon and Gabby are now on the top of my Christmas list every year”.  

When emergency personnel arrived and Rob was stabilized, he was quickly transported to a nearby hospital to undergo a stenting procedure to fix blockages. The ER medical director noted that Shannon and Gabby were the difference between life and death, and by taking immediate action they helped Rob defy the odds.

“Within a minute of Mr. Barber losing his pulse, we were able to start his heart beating again,” Gabby said. “I was nervous, but I absolutely knew what to do.” Gabby says that helping someone’s heart start to beat again is not something that wants to do again, she can’t begin to imagine what it must have felt like for Rob.

view from the Jumbotron at University of Mississippi

Honored with Red Cross Lifesaving Award

On September 11, 2021 – the first home game of the season, Shannon Richardson and Gabby Sokol were presented with a Red Cross Lifesaving Award for their heroic response to Rob Barber’s cardiac emergency. Both received the Certificate of Merit, awarded to an individual who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in a Red Cross Training Services course. *Gabby did not attend the event but received her award earlier in the week.

Red Cross training gives people the knowledge and skills to act in an emergency. A variety of online, blended (online and in-person skills session) and classroom courses are available at redcross.org/takeaclass.

If you or someone you know has used skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Training Services course to help save or sustain the life of another individual, visit LifesavingAwards.org to nominate, recognize, or be inspired.

Never Forget: Red Cross Remembers 9/11, 20 Years Later

In this historic photograph, a Red Cross disaster volunteer puts drops in the burning eyes of a weary rescue worker in New York City. The heavy smoke caused eye and breathing problems for everyone close to the site of the World Trade Center collapse.

Twenty years ago, the United States faced one of the worst days in its history. As our country marks 20 years since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the American Red Cross remembers the victims of that horrific day, honors the brave responders and is working to rekindle the spirit of service the country saw then to help those in need today.

The Red Cross is grateful to those across the country who came forward with donations of time, blood and funds to support the victims and survivors of the attacks. Within minutes of Flight 11 crashing into the north tower of the World Trade Center, the Red Cross mobilized to provide immediate help. Our work continued for years after.

Details of the Red Cross response included:

  • Nearly $1.1 billion in generous donations were used to fund massive relief and recovery efforts and help more than 59,000 families affected by the terrorist attacks.
  • Hundreds of millions of dollars in financial assistance were provided to families that lost loved ones, those who were physically injured, first responders, residents of lower Manhattan who couldn’t return home and workers who lost their jobs.
  • More than 57,000 Red Crossers from across the country served more than 14 million meals and snacks, opened dozens of shelters for people who were left stranded, and connected some 374,000 times with people to provide emotional support and health services.
  • Hundreds of thousands of individuals lined up to give blood as people came forward to help in any way they could.
  • We worked with Red Cross and Red Crescent teams in over 65 countries to help families located overseas who lost a loved one in the terrorist attacks. The Red Cross provided support such as financial assistance and mental health.
  • Americans who were unsure where to find or give help turned to the Red Cross, which set up a call center to help people navigate uncertainty in the days and months after the attacks. Callers asked about how to locate missing loved ones, where to find financial assistance, and how to help those impacted by the tragedy.
  • At the Pentagon, the Red Cross set up its mobile disaster command center. We provided mental health services and food support for first responders and survivors.

The 20th anniversary of the attacks is a reminder that the unimaginable can occur — and that Americans need to do everything they can to protect their neighbors and be ready for crises of any size. Emergencies can happen at any time, and everyone can do their part to be prepared.

Part of doing that is ensuring an adequate blood supply is available year-round. Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients – so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency. Find out more here.

To help prepare your household, the Red Cross suggests planning ahead on how to deal with the types of disasters that are likely in your neighborhood, what to do if separated and how to stay informed. Next, build an emergency kit. Your kit should contain food, water and other basic supplies to last at least three days for each family member.

Also, don’t forget to include essential medications, copies of important documents and special items for children and pets. Including your pets in your emergency plans is essential. Remember, if you and your family need to evacuate, so does your pet. It’s important to plan in advance to know which pet-friendly hotels are in your area, and where your pets can stay in an emergency situation.

The final step to preparing your household is to be informed. Consider taking a First Aid for Severe Trauma™ or first aid and CPR course so you’ll know what to do until help arrives in the event of an emergency.