My interest in teaching CPR began when I was just 16. My brother had brought his two-year-old son over to visit; all of the adults were in the kitchen laughing, talking and enjoying each other’s company. Though it was the middle of winter, I stepped outside into the backyard for a minute. My family had a pool, but we never used it – the water was actually green from lack of maintenance. I’m still not sure why I glanced at our neglected pool, but when I did, I noticed that something had disturbed the water.
When I looked in to the murky water, I was shocked to see my tiny nephew curled at the bottom. I jumped in and pulled him out, but he was motionless. I had no CPR training and I was panicking. As I screamed for help and carried my nephew toward the house at a run, he began to cough and expelled the water from his lungs.
We were lucky that day – if my nephew had been in the water for a minute longer, the outcome would have been tragic. That near-miss clearly illustrated the importance of CPR training and ignited a spark that propelled me toward a career in public safety. Years later, while working as a firefighter, I volunteered to instruct public safety classes. That’s where I discovered my calling — training others in CPR and first aid — and the inspiration behind Above Bar CPR took shape.
Today, my passion for providing people with the skills to deal with life-threatening emergencies is as strong as ever. I love presenting the material in engaging, innovative ways, and keeping the attention of my students along the way. For me, being able to do something that I really love while providing a service that the community needs is a dream come true.
A three-year stint as a bull rider on the California open circuit also cemented my commitment to improving public safety. During my time training at the Morgan Hill arena, as well as in rodeos across the region, I saw the important role that first responders play, both in and out of the ring.
My family and my involvement in my community are also a huge part of who I am. I’ve been married since 2000, with two boys and a little girl on the way. My twin brother is also passionate about improving public health; he’s an MD resident at UC Davis.
Within my community, I serve as a volunteer on the boards of the Aptos Soccer Club and Aptos Little League, and as a volunteer coach for local children’s flag football, soccer and baseball teams. Giving back to the community is important to me and plays an important role in Above Bar CPR’s mission; that’s why we provide Free Fridays for adult CPR. You will find us on the streets trying to spread the word about Hands Only CPR. Places like the Boardwalk or downtown Santa Cruz. We are working to get CPR programs back into the schools as well as AEDs.