Our Heroes

James Morse

I recently took a CPR class, and I never would have guessed how quickly it came in handy. Less than a week after the class, I am hanging with a few friends late night on the porch, when my mother came walking through the door, home from work and exhausted. She said her hellos to my friends and continued to the fridge. She went for the steak my Dad had cooked earlier that evening. As tired as she was, she didn't cut the steak very well and began to choke on a large piece. She stumbled to the door from the kitchen to the porch and flung it open. I saw my mom standing there with her hands around her neck trying to tell us she was choking. My friends were freaking out and yelling call the police; call the ambulance. Without thinking, I stood up, flew over to my mom, spun her around, found her belly button, and preformed the Heimlich maneuver 3 times to unlodge the steak. My Mom turned around and shook my hand and said "Thank you, you saved my life." I'll never forget that moment. I also had Brian Mercer to thank for taking the time to teach me everything about CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. Thank you Brian for helping me save my Mom!

Richard Brenner

Two weeks after taking a CPR course with Brian's Band of Heroes Company, I was unexpectedly surprised when I was in a Local North Andover Restaurant, and I heard a scream. From behind a wall, I heard what turned out to be her boyfriend hysterically screaming. Everyone in the restaurant was already starring at this 26-year-old girl who was not breathing and her heart had stopped. No pulse. I used CPR to get her breathing again. She did not open her eyes but kept her alive until the paramedics came and took her out on a stretcher to the hospital.. What astounded me was the fact that there were perhaps 12 adults there and no one there knew what to do. This was the first time I ever did CPR on anyone, and I was sure glad that Brian taught CPR well. Not just teaches but does it thorough and well.


When my daughter was born, I took a CPR course. Then, four years later, after my son was born, I took a second CPR class to refresh my training. While on holiday, Brian, who is my brother-in-law, asked me to demonstrate my training and afterwards gave me an A.

When our son was eleven months old, my husband came home from work, picked up our son and went to change his clothes. He removed his change from his pocket and was unaware that a quarter had fallen on the carpet and that our son had immediately picked-up and put in his mouth. While holding him, our son soon began to make a strange noise, we looked in his mouth but were unable to see anything and were confused as a baby, unlike an adult, cannot indicate what's happening. He then turned purple and passed out. Using my CPR training, I was able to dislodge the quarter and just like that he was breathing, pink and crying. We were told later that a person has four to six minutes before brain damage or death. I doubt the ambulance would have arrived in time. I am not a hero, what I did that was so important was to take the time to take a CPR course just in case I would ever need it. Then, I did need it! CPR saves lives and knowing CPR saved my son's life. By the way, he is now 25!


I was sitting in the Gallishaw cafeteria having lunch with 2 students and Cheryl. Then suddenly a student came into the lunchroom and starting an altercation. As we are always ready for such occurrences we were quick to redirect him. Unfortunately the altercation escalated and the student jumped from the counter intent on hurting someone and I responded by trying to block him from his intended target. As I had him blocked, another staff called for help and others in the room went to assist. This is when I noticed I was having a hard time breathing. I could not understand why and thought it was because I had moved so quickly. Staff and students were engaged it the altercation and I was alone, my breathing became more difficult and I began to panic. I looked at a staff member, Danielle, who must have noticed something was wrong. The last thing I heard was are you ok? I put my hands on my throat, the universal sign for choking!! Danielle immediately ran to me and started the Heimlich Maneuver. My only thoughts were about my son and how I did not say good bye to him. I couldn’t breathe and I remembered saying, “dear Lord help me”. I felt a pressure in the middle of my stomach and then suddenly a carrot I had been eating at the time flew out of my mouth. It must have been lodged in my throat and I hadn’t realized it. I could finally breathe and I just started crying with happiness. As I sat in the nurse’s office I recalled that frightening moment and realized just how fragile life can be. In just a few short minute things could have gotten so much worse. I do not know what could have happened, but the worst did not. and I will always be thankful for Danielle and her knowledge of CPR that day, with all that chaos going on around us she noticed and acted professionally and competently saving my life. I have no words except “thank you” and enjoy every breath you take it only takes seconds for something like this to take those breaths away!

Share 'A Hero Story'

Whether you were a hero who used your CPR training to save your husband or a hero who used your wilderness survival training to help a complete stranger, we want to hear about it! Committed to these programs, we applaud all heroes who have be placed in a situation where their certification has been necessary. Share your story with us and you will be nominated for our "My Band of Heroes" Award.