A wingman’s heart

  • Published
  • By Peggy Shepherd
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the wingman and mission assurance.  Why do we do what we do?  Why do we care?

For me, it started at age 10, when I needed to keep my father breathing.

In the mid-1980s, my father retired after 24 years in the Air Force, but he almost didn’t make it that far.  In 1971, Dad was sole surviving parent of four children, and I was the oldest.

He uncovered a bee’s nest one day while clearing yard debris.  He wasn’t allergic, but the venom from the numerous stings caused him to stop breathing.

As he realized what was happening, his Air Force training kicked in.  He told me how to perform rescue breathing to keep him going.  I kept him breathing and his heart didn’t stop.  This was a really good thing since we did not have 911 back then.  He survived and I knew then I wanted to make a difference.

Now, 47 years later, I teach CPR to my fellow wingmen here.  We are all about the mission and mission assurance.  What better way to ensure the mission than to ensure our fellow wingmen stay alive to accomplish it?

Each role in CPR is valuable - learning to assess a situation, getting the necessary emergency equipment, calling 9-1-1, and physically helping to save a life.  We work together as a team to give the victim the best possible chance of survival, and these skills support our mission and community.

Editor’s note:  Peggy Shepherd is the installation mission assurance program manager.  If interested in CPR classes or more information, call 882-8008 or 882-8298.