It was over before it even began. In an instant, a woman was underwater holding her newborn infant above her head. I reacted faster than it took to realize what was going on. I saved a young mother and her baby from drowning in a pool on a sunny Saturday afternoon. 

I have been a lifeguard for four years. I have learned that everybody responds to chaos differently. My reaction is an inner stillness and focus on rational thinking. Many times I have been faced with a variety of emergencies and each time I respond without even being conscious of what I am doing. 

Valentine’s Day 2010. My boyfriend at the time was shoved into a concrete wall and had a massive bloody head injury. The police officers told me to take him to the ER immediately. I drove him there as fast as I could, all while his head was gushing blood over my passenger seat. My response: direct continuous pressure on the wound. The doctors at the ER were so surprised at my reaction. Why didn’t I panic? Didn’t the blood freak me out? How did I know what to do? I just shrugged, and asked if I could help with the saline flush. They were understaffed and he needed over 28 stitches on his head. 

WDYDWYD?- I do it because I care about people. Because I trust my judgement and I have the desire to help individuals who are in a helpless situation. It doesn’t matter what the circumstance is; I have this compulsion to assist people all the time no matter where I am. At Six Flags in this summer a woman behind me in line fainted from heat exhaustion. As her husband went into shock, I revived the woman and called EMS. Everywhere I go, I am aware of the people around me. It sometimes drives my friends crazy! They beg me, “Jackie, just leave him, he is fine!” as an old man begins to have a stroke outside Boudin Bakery. My passion for helping people has led me to pursue a career in medicine. But I have learned it does not take a medical degree to save someone’s life. I do what I do because I trust myself enough to know what to do and I have the courage to take control of an emergency. 

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