Ten Iowans have been honored at the Iowa State Fair with governor’s Lifesaving Awards. Two of those recipients are Craig Smith and Steve Neal from Mount Vernon. Last March they were sitting next to their friend Adrain Ringold during a coffee club gathering. Ringold suddenly passed out and had no pulse. Smith and Neal took him to the floor and began performing CPR.
Neal sang the classic disco hit “Stayin Alive” by the Bee Gees, while Smith began applying chest compressions.
“Steve’s a pretty comical guy, so I was wondering if people around us kinda of thought he was typically joking,” Smith said at this morning's awards ceremony. “But no, I knew exactly what he was doing and assisting on trying to keep that beat up.”
Public Service Announcements by the American Heart Association use the 1970s pop song as a way to measure how often to press the victim’s chest. This was the first time Smith performed CPR and says the PSAs helped him know what to do.
“Things have changed a lot since we probably had CPR training back as a sophomore in high school many years ago when we had the mouth-to-mouth,” says Smith. “But just hearing the PSAs, how it’s just fast chest compressions, and that’s critical just keep that blood flow going and keeping that tissue alive.”
Smith worked on Ringold for ten minutes before Neal took over. Paramedics arrived and shocked the heart back into rhythm. Ringold attended the ceremony.
The governor’s office has been presenting lifesaving awards at the fair since the 1970s to Iowans performing courageous acts during life-threatening situations.
This year's honorees also include Katie Boven of Eldridge, Missouri; Damien Bell of Pleasant Hill; Jesse Bannor of Des Moines; Michael Hocking of Coon Rapids; Barbara Jorgensen of Harlan; Travis Moen of Janesville; Ryan Siems of Waverly; and Dennis Murphy of Grand Junction. Read more about the honorees here.