It was late afternoon on a very hot July day. Shirley Severs, 76, was relaxing, drinking a cold soda and nursing a minor leg injury she received that morning while water skiing. The entire Severs family was out enjoying a weekend of camping at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County, PA, and no one was more surprised than Mrs. Severs’ son, James, when his mother complained of being light-headed and weak.
Raystown Lake was several miles away from a hospital so the family called 911 immediately. But panic set in, and while most of the family stayed with Mrs. Severs and waited for emergency professionals, James ran through the camp frantically looking for someone with medical training.
While he couldn’t find a single doctor or nurse in the camp, he did find Connie Thomas, a Registered Veterinary Technician and AVECCTN 2019 candidate with PET + ER, in Towson, MD.
Why It Works
“When I heard about Mrs. Severs, my years of training kicked in and I wanted to help,” said Thomas. “I ran over to her camp and helped keep her calm while we waited for the paramedics to show up.”
Thomas was able to check her pulse and found that it was unusually high and her skin was cool to the touch. She stayed with Mrs. Severs until the paramedics arrived about 20 minutes later.
“As a veterinary professional, we have an innate sense to help those in need, whether it is animals or people. I was happy that I could help the situation,” says Thomas.
Mrs. Severs was taken to a hospital and treated for dehydration and recovered a few days later.
“Having someone with me at that stressful time that had medical training helped me remain calm,” said Mrs. Severs. “It also helped my family, who was very worried about Grandma.”
Thomas is a graduate of the Community College of Baltimore County, was previously a volunteer EMT, and she has also been an active member of the Chesapeake Search and Rescue Team for two years.
Why It Matters
“I want to believe that the human race has the ability to be kind and selfless”, says Thomas. “I believe that we all can be better, kinder and more giving. This is why I help and why I search for lost people. I want to be the kind of person that someone can come to in time of need. I want to be able to help them and hopefully, in turn, they help others.” +