SHS Grad Tori Kunkel Praised For Using CPR Training To Help Save Man's Life
Recent Saugatuck High School graduate Tori Kunkel says she was “at the right place, at the right time” when she helped save the life of a tourist who collapsed near the high school running track on Saturday morning.
Kunkel, 18, was originally going to go do her jogging at the Mt. Baldhead trails, but she opted for the high school track because her friends either couldn’t or did not want to join her.
While jogging at the track, she heard a wheezing—it was a man just on the other side of the fence, on the ground, stomach down and bleeding from the head.
Kunkel immediately called 911 then yelled for help. With other people there for support, she turned the victim on his back and began administering chest compressions—just as she had learned in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training—when she noticed he was having a difficult time breathing.
A short time later the local police and fire department arrived to assist before the victim was taken by ambulance to Holland Hospital with two Saugatuck Township Fire District firefighters accompanying him.
“It definitely was a life-changing experience for me; it just puts your mind in perspective—life could be taken at a moment’s notice,” said Kunkel. “I am really glad that I was there. It’s cool to know that he is going to be okay.”
Kunkel, who will be attending Hope College in the fall, took her CPR training at Holland Hospital during her sophomore year as part of a baby-sitting class.
“Tori is a brave young woman,” Saugatuck Township Fire District Chief Greg Janik told The Local Observer Tuesday about the Saturday incident.
“She is a well-prepared, educated young adult who had the courage to help somebody out that was obviously in distress.”
Saugatuck Township Fire District Chair Jane Verplank also praised Kunkel’s action and the fire and police personnel that helped in the effort by responding to the emergency call within four minutes.
Verplank said the response goes to show the importance of CPR training and the fire district’s Community Risk Reduction (CRR) program.
As for the victim, medical personnel say “he is responding well to treatment and they expect a full recovery,” according to Kunkel, who spoke with the man’s wife on Monday.