Claire Taylor had learned CPR through the Girl Scouts. It’s a valuable lesson in preparedness.
Claire Taylor was babysitting her younger sister in their Ocean Township home when the unthinkable happened.
When Sarah Taylor, then 12, bent over to pet the family cat, she collapsed to the floor. She was having a cardiac arrest.
“For a second I stood there watching her, in shock, and then I opened the front door and yelled for help,” recalled Claire, who was 16 at time. “Then I called 911, I started praying and then I started CPR.”
As a middle-schooler, Claire had learned CPR while getting her babysitting certification through the Girl Scouts.
“I learned on Cabbage Patch kids,” she said.
It saved Sarah’s life. First responders arrived within minutes and fully revived her with a defibrillator. This was in November 2017. Sixteen months later, Sarah is doing great and Claire has received two big honors.
The first, the Girl Scouts’ Medal of Honor, was bestowed this past November. Claire was one of just 16 recipients nationwide in 2018.
“The words we have in our mission statement — courage, confidence and character — I think Claire demonstrated those with what she did in that extreme situation,” said Dena Mayo, director of community engagement for Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. “It’s wonderful to see the Girl Scout program in action. This was a great real-life example.”
The second, a Young Hero award from the American Legion Auxiliary for New Jersey, was presented last weekend by national auxiliary president Kathy Dungan.
“Claire is very humble; she didn’t think she deserved the award,” said Doreen Gallagher, past state president for the American Legion Auxiliary for New Jersey. “She looked at it as, she did what she was taught.”
The public accolades serve a key function, aside from celebrating a lifesaving act. They reinforce the need to train teens in CPR.
“It’s important to be able to provide this kind of information to our youth, so if something happens they’re prepared,” Gallagher said. “The more they know, the better.”
Looking back on the crucible moment, Claire Taylor emphasized that prayer kept her calm, and credits her faith for keeping her strong. Now a 17-year-old senior at Red Bank Regional High School, she has valuable advice for her peers.
“It’s definitely worthwhile to have some sort of (emergency response) background,” she said. “When the moment does arrive, if it does, you can focus on taking action with what you already know.”