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.

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