Dan Reddin's fifth-period engineering design class had just gotten under way at Wilson High School, when he heard a slight "thump" behind him.
“I turned around, and I saw a student on the ground,” the Tacoma teacher recalled, thinking back to the afternoon of Oct. 29.
Moving over to the boy, who was face down on the ground, Reddin looked at the student’s ashen gray face and knew he needed oxygen. Fast.
He started CPR, and dispatched another student to alert a teacher in a nearby classroom who had an emergency radio.
Wilson school resource officer Teresa Antush, a Tacoma police officer whose beat is the high school, heard the radio call for help in Reddin’s classroom. She and fellow Tacoma officer Steve Miller, who was working off-duty as a truancy officer for the school district that day, responded to the classroom and radioed for help from the Tacoma Fire Department.
The police officers took over performing CPR on the student until medics arrived and were able to transport the young man, a Wilson freshman, to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.
Antush said she contacted the fire department and helped the other students clear away from the scene, while Miller started CPR compressions on the boy.
The actions of the teacher, the police officers and the medics not only saved the boy’s life but gave him an excellent chance at recovery, according to Mary Bridge physician Dr. Tito Monge, who wrote a letter to the school commending their response.
Monday night, the life-savers were recognized for their work by the Tacoma School Board.
Reddin, who’s been at Wilson for 13 years and has been teaching for more than 20, said he’s never had to administer CPR to a student before.
“And I never want to do it again,” he said. “But I would.”
Wilson Principal Dan Besett said he spoke to the student earlier Monday.
“He’s home, his voice is strong and he’s looking forward to getting back to school,” Besett said.
Reddin said he was able to stay calm and contain his emotions throughout the ordeal, until he saw the boy being loaded into an ambulance.
“I didn’t think he was going to make it,” Reddin said.
As a career and technical education instructor, Reddin is required to have CPR training, and he updates his training every two years.
He urged other teachers to take the training as well.
“I’m glad I had the skills,” he said.
Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635