University of South Carolina students receive life-saving award during Red Cross Community Day

Thanks to BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, April 6th was “Red Cross Community Day” at the University of South Carolina’s (USC) baseball stadium.  BlueCross BlueShield chose the Red Cross as their community partner for the 2012 USC baseball season.  Each time the Gamecocks score DOUBLES during the entire baseball season, BlueCross BlueShield will contribute $65 to the Red Cross – up to a maximum contribution of $5,000.

That same day our staff and volunteers had the privilege to spend time with and honor five USC students with the Certificate of Merit for heroic actions that they took to save a life last summer.  While working for the USC Challenging Horizons Program, Lauren Pendleton, Amanda Kitchings, Joseph Sims, Robert Sofaly III and Kate Coffey were able to save 16-year-old, Harry Samuel Jr.’s life in a near drowning situation. Thankfully all five of these student’s were trained in Red Cross CPR and First Aid and knew how to stay calm, work as a team and use their emergency response skills to save a life.

Here’s a recap of our fun-filled day…

Our day started by touring the USC baseball stadium. We had a fun, behind the scenes tour of the locker room, weight room, batting cages and dugout of our back-to-back national champions!

Certificate of Merit recipients in the weight room.

Harry Samuel, Jr., Certificate of Merit recipients and USC staff in the weight room.

Inside the locker room, were we found star baseball player, Matt Price’s locker.

Red Cross staff in front of the back-to-back National Championship trophies.

Red Cross staff members, Lauren Johnson and Anna Kate Christophillis enjoy seeing USC's baseball stadium.

Red Cross staff members, Lauren Johnson and Anna Kate Christophillis enjoy seeing USC’s baseball stadium.

Once the tour of the baseball stadium concluded, we headed to a luncheon honoring our Certificate of Merit recipients.  For over a century, the Red Cross has presented the highest Red Cross award for saving a life, the Certificate of Merit, to more than 12,000 individuals who have saved or sustained a life. We were so proud of these five USC students and their dedication to help others in need!

The Certificate of Merit medal and certificate.

The Certificate of Merit medal and certificate.

(From left to right) Certificate of Merit reciepent, Harry Samuel, Jr. and Scott Salemme, regional chief executive officer, Red Cross, Columbia region

(From left to right) Certificate of Merit recipient, Kate Coffey accepts her award presented by Harry Samuel, Jr. and Scott R Salemme, Regional Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross, Columbia Region

Awards recipients smile with pride after they received the Certificate of Merit award from the Red Cross for saving 16-year-old, Harry Samuel, Jr.'s life last summer.

Award recipients smile with pride after they received the Certificate of Merit award from the Red Cross for saving 16-year-old, Harry Samuel, Jr.’s life last summer.

After our luncheon to honor the award recipients, we traveled to the stadium for the USC baseball game against Tennessee! The recipients of the Certificate of Merit were recognized on the field before the game.  Also, Robert Sofaly III, Certificate of Merit recipient, threw the first pitch.

Award recipient, Robert Sofaly III, throws the first pitch of the game.

Our staff and volunteers had a wonderful day celebrating the heroic work of these five college students. Thank you to BlueCross BlueShield and USC for making this such a special day!  Click here for more pictures of our fun-filled day.  

BlueCross BlueShield has been a long-time friend to the Red Cross and has made our humanitarian mission a reality throughout the state of South Carolina.

For more information on Red Cross life-saving training, visit Redcross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS.  

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