We are only two days away before the first of two nights of taping for Dancing with the Stars. Christy, my partner, and I have worked hard up to this point and I think we are ready to go. After Wednesday, we will have about a month to work on our finale dance. I don’t know what that is going to look like but I do remember early on that Christy asked if I have any “back issues” and do I still have my tap shoes. So we will just have to see. This also means I have about a month to rock out on the fundraising as well. I am still planning one or two more events and as soon as I have firm dates I will let everyone know. However, do not let that stop you from donating. You can go to http://www.capdonation-dwts.eventbite.com and make an online donation or mail a check to the Greater Woodbury Chamber. Those details are on my “About” page.
One of the things about doing all of this is that I have been reminiscing about my time in CAP and what it has meant to me over the 28 years that I have been with the program.
I started out as a shy, awkward kid:
And became a confident (if not sometimes Cocky) person:
I made some great friends:
I got to do some really neat stuff:
And I got to repay CAP by training and mentoring the next generation of cadets:
I earned a lot of awards and I continue to be very successful in CAP but I will always be indebted to CAP and no matter how long I am in or how many people I help, it will never equal what the program was able to give me. It gave me more time with my great-grandmother and taught me how precious life is.
It was spring of my senior year at West Deptford High School. I was having one of the best years of my life. I was getting ready to graduate and go to college. I was almost ready to take the test for the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz award which is the highest cadet award in CAP. This particular night, I was to attend a dinner and be recognized for my selection to NJ Boy’s State. I came home from school earlier than usual to get ready for the dinner. Bubbie, my great-grandmother, was living with us at the time and she was home with my younger brother Zach. I was in my room when my brother came running in saying something was wrong with Bubbie. Zach was about 6 at the time and I could tell he was upset by something. So I followed him downstairs and he took me into our laundry room. The laundry room leads to the garage and as I walked into the room, I noticed the door into the garage was open but the light was out. As I got closer to the door I noticed Bubbie laying on the garage floor, she fell. I turned on the light and I could hear her moaning and she looked confused. What I didn’t notice until I knelt next to her was the pool of blood around her head. The garage floor is a maroon color and with the lighting it was difficult to see the blood until I was closer.
As I mentioned, she was moaning but confused trying to get up but her limbs didn’t want to work with her. I knew it was bad. That previous winter I had completed the American Red Cross Advanced First Aid class through CAP and she was showing clear signs of a head trauma. When Zach saw the blood he started to get upset. Thanks to the hours of training and practice that I went through with the member of my CAP unit, I took control of the situation. I told Zach to go down a couple of houses and get one of our neighbors that I knew was home and told him to bring him to the house. While he did that, I quickly grabbed towels that were in the laundry room and applied pressure to the back of her head to control the bleeding. As I slowly reached behind her, I could tell by the flatness she had a skull fracture. During this time, I kept talking to her, telling her she was going to be ok and to keep looking at me. I was worried about her losing consciousness. After a few minutes that felt like hours, Zach returned with our neighbor, Bob Whaller. I told Bob to get the phone in the kitchen, call 911 and I proceeded to tell him what he needed to tell the dispatcher is relation to her injuries and status. After he got off the phone, he brought me some more towels and asked what else he could do. I did everything I could for Bubbie at this point and it was just a matter of keeping her stable until the ambulance. Now this was in a time before cell phones and I can’t remember if we were able to get hold of my mom before she left work or not but I do know that she was not home yet when the ambulance came. By the time the ambulance arrived, we had the garage door open ready for them, my brother was at the Whaller’s house with his friend Justin and Bob was with me helping Bubbie. I remember being relived when the ambulance got there because the first person out was a woman named Linda. Linda was an EMT with West Deptford but she was also an aide at my middle school years ago and seeing someone I knew made me feel better. I remember the conversation that took place once they took over for me treating Bubbie. The adults were all talking among themselves almost like I wasn’t there. The other EMT commented on how well everything was handled and Bob told him that he did’t do anything except what I told him. He said he wasn’t he would have know what to do if he found her by himself. Linda looked over at me and winked and by then the adrenaline started to come down and I started to tear up. The other EMT looked over at me, he was an older man and I never remembered his name, and said, “If you every want to join the ambulance, you can ride with me.”
I made it to my dinner that night. I didn’t want to go. I felt I should stay at the hospital with my parents or stay home and make sure Zach was ok, but my mom told me that Bubbie would not want me to miss the dinner so I went. To this day, I don’t remember much about the dinner. Later we found out that Bubbie was coming into the laundry room from the garage and she lost her balance on the step up into the laundry room. She suffered a fractured skull but there were no permanent injuries. To this day, I believe that if I didn’t have the training I got through CAP, Bubbie would not have recovered as well as she did. She might not have survived. And I am not talking just about the first aid training I received but also the confidence to take control of the situation. Without what I learned in CAP, I don’t think Bob would have been as comfortable as he was in letting me handle the situation and telling him what to do. My squadron commander found out about what happened, probably through my parents, and I was awarded the Certificate of Recognition for Lifesaving.
I have done a lot of things in CAP, many of which were fun. But CAP also taught me things that helped me make an impact on not only my life but of others as well.