May 25, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Red Cross Honors Two Lifesavers at J-ADD’s Annual Chanukah Party

(Courtesy of J-ADD) Back in December 2017, David (“DJ”), a longtime resident at J-ADD, was just about to sit down with his housemates and support staff to enjoy an afternoon snack when everything went dark. “I took a heart attack and collapsed right there. I don’t remember the day at all. I don’t remember anything from the whole day,” David said.

All of a sudden there was a commotion coming from the dining room adjacent to the kitchen in the group home. “I didn’t know what happened,” said the DSP Yenis who rushed in to the dining room to see what all the commotion was about. She found DJ blue and unresponsive on the living room floor. “I was frantic,” she said. “I thought DJ was dead. Even though I was crying I started CPR and I yelled for help. Kadolia, another DSP, really came through. She took control of the situation and told me to call 911. She worked so hard pumping on his chest until the EMS technicians arrived and took over trying to resuscitate DJ before transporting him to hospital by ambulance.”

DJ is alive today thanks in part to the actions taken by Kadolia and Yenis.

Last week at J-ADD’s annual Chanukah party, at the Jewish Community Center in Paramus, The American Red Cross presented both Yenis Mercedes and Kadolia Dolson with the Certificate of Merit, the highest award given by the Red Cross to an individual who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in a Red Cross Training Services course. “We’re extremely proud to present a Certificate of Merit to Yenis and Kadolia,” said Jocelyn Gilman, executive director, American Red Cross of Northern New Jersey. “Their actions exemplify our mission to help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.”

Dolson and Mercedes were nominated by J-ADD Director of Training Cheryl Minkoff. “This is something to celebrate,” Minkoff said. “We now know firsthand at J-ADD what it means when our Sages say, ‘He who has saved one life, it is as if he saved the whole world in its entirety.’”

“We congratulate Yenis and Kadolia on this recognition and appreciate their life-saving actions,” said John Winer, executive director, Jewish Association for Developmental Disabilities. “As a result, David will tell you himself, ‘I’m not sick, I’m very much alive!’”

Red Cross training gives people the knowledge and skills to act in an emergency and save a life. A variety of online, blended (online and in-person skills session) and classroom courses are available at redcross.org/takeaclass.

“I know CPR from working at J-ADD. I am so glad I got trained by Cheryl. When Yenis screamed for help I responded, and we did find DJ collapsed on the floor, and it’s one of those things where you are going through the training, you don’t think you’ll ever use it, but it was there, and I am thankful that we had the training because, obviously, it worked,” Ms. Dolson said.

More information about J-ADD can be found at www.J-ADD.org.

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