Left to right: Yale's Peter Pulaski, Camile Collier, Mattie Dixon, Vincent Morrissey, and Leonard Guercia, director of Emergency Medical Services with the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health, at the Red Cross Heroes Celebration Breakfast in April.
Three life-saving staff members were honored by the American Red Cross at its annual Heroes Celebration Breakfast on April 12, at New Haven’s Omni Hotel.
Yale Dining’s Mattie Dixon (a retail rounds associate) and the Yale Golf Course’s Camile Collier (office assistant and golf pro) and Vincent Morrissey (outside operations staff) received the Good Samaritan Award for a “selfless act of heroism” that saved the life of Raymond Peck, a member of the Yale Golf Course operations staff.
The Heroes Celebration salutes individuals who “represent the American Red Cross values of prompt and compassionate response by ordinary people in extraordinary situations.” The Good Samaritan Award was one of 10 honors presented that morning to local heroes who have made a difference in the communities of Greater New Haven. Five Heroes Celebrations were held across the state in March and early April to recognize the heroic efforts that everyday people make on behalf of their neighbors.
It was a little over a year ago that Morrissey, Peck and Collier took a refresher course in CPR and in operating an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), not knowing that the next day they would save Peck’s life by putting into action what they had just studied. Peck collapsed in Widdy’s restaurant at the golf course following the first 2011 intercollegiate golf tournament as he stood near Morrissey, who adeptly grabbed him by his jacket and lowered him to the floor. While Pulaski and a visiting coach performed chest compressions, Morrissey ran down the hall to grab the on-site AED while shouting to Collier to call 911. At the same time, Dixon heard the cries of distress and pushed her way through the crowd to help. She told the team she was EMT-certified, and she began “rescue breaths” after clearing Peck’s airway.
Once the AED sensors were applied to Peck, it indicated that compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation should continue. When Peck began gaining consciousness, Collier reminded Morrissey to move him onto his side in the “rescue position.” About this time, the emergency personnel arrived, and Morrissey helped them get Peck into the ambulance.
A Yale Dining colleague at the time described Dixon’s role as “a tremendous act of selflessness.” Morrissey said, “We all jumped in and did what we had to do.”
According to the Red Cross’ program for the event, the heroes they salute often share Morrissey’s sentiment: “If you ask them how they feel about being a hero, they are likely to respond by saying ‘I did what anyone would in my situation,’ or ‘I was just doing my job.’”
Collier, Dixon, and Morrissey received their Good Samaritan Awards from Leonard Guercia, director of Emergency Medical Services with the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health, and Peter Pulaski, director of The Course at Yale, who was on site during the life-saving event. Noting that he was “honored and privileged to present this award on behalf of Yale University,” Pulaski called out to Ray Peck who stood up in the packed Omni ballroom and blew kisses to the three who saved his life as they walked on stage amid applause to receive their award.
Dixon told the audience how glad she was that Peck “was able to be here today,” and Collier echoed the Red Cross hope that the 2012 Heroes Celebration would inspire everyone to make a positive difference in the lives of their neighbors and friends. Read the original story in Working@Yale.