HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital is recognizing National CPR and AED Awareness Week June 1-7, by celebrating a recent donation of an automated external defibrillator (AED) machine to Highland High School. An AED is a portable device that can send an electric shock to restore normal heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest. The machine is located near the score board between multiple sports fields at the high school. St. Joseph’s Hospital has a long-standing relationship with Highland High School through the Athlete’s Advantage program. Through this program, the hospital provides free athletic training throughout the school district.
The donation was sparked by the hospital’s new partnership with the Greg Holthaus Memorial Fund, a community organization dedicated to providing training, testing, & equipment vital to preventing & treating sudden cardiac arrest. The organization hosts an annual whiffle ball tournament each fall to raise funds to provide education and AED machines to those who need it. After a meeting between the foundation and St. Joseph’s Hospital, the two organizations decided to partner to provide more machines and education throughout the community.
“This was a partnership that made really good sense for everyone involved, and will greatly benefit our community,” said Amy Liefer, Director of Communications at St. Joseph’s Hospital. “The outcomes from our partnership speak to the mission of both our organizations and provide potentially life-saving treatment for our community.”
The money raised by the whiffle ball tournament last fall was originally earmarked for the purchase of an AED machine for the high school. The hospital offered to purchase the machine and housing unit and redirect the money raised to provide more education. Through this new partnership, the hospital is now hosting quarterly First Aid/AED trainings free of charge for the community, which is sponsored for by the Greg Holthaus Memorial Fund.
“The partnership between our organization and the hospital is going to allow both of us to do more for our community,” said Gail Holthaus, founder of the Greg Holthaus Memorial Fund. “Educating people on how to use the AED machine is so important. If you can’t use the machine, it doesn’t do anyone any good.”
Highland High School has a portable AED machine, which is kept with the athletic trainer. The addition of a second AED machine that is stationary makes it available to anyone using the athletic fields at any time. In addition to high school sports throughout the school year, the fields are used by community groups and recreational sports teams all summer.
“We have a lot of rec baseball teams who use our fields all summer long,” said Caleb Houchins, athletic director at Highland High School. “Having a stationary machine located near these fields for use in emergencies is wonderful. We are very grateful for our partnership with these two organizations.”
The next First Aid/AED training will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 17, at St. Joseph’s Hospital. For more information or to register, please contact Emily Korte at 618-651-2657.
For more information about the Greg Holthaus Memorial Fund and their annual whiffle ball tournament, please visit their Facebook page at @gregholthausmemorialfund.