The day began innocently enough. The scene was an IBEW 11 fundraising function, something this group had done dozens of times over the years. But this time, on July 24, 2021, something out of the ordinary happened.
Business Manager Joël Barton was tapped on the shoulder and saw a fellow member gesturing that he was having trouble breathing, with something obstructing his airpipe. Barton’s years of CPR training kicked in, and, without hesitation, he conducted the Heimlich maneuver on the brother in distress. Out popped the offending food item and the member could catch his breath once again.
“My years of first aid and CPR training came in handy,” noted Barton. “This is the second time I was able to use it in the past 40 years. I highly encourage everyone to learn first aid and emergency training. It could save a member’s life.”
For his quick thinking, the IBEW International awarded Barton its highest honor: its Life Saving Award. The award was officially presented by President Rusty Roten at the February 17 general membership meeting. Barton received a round of applause from members, as well as good wishes from his family in attendance.
“The saving of a human life is one of the greatest achievements on this Earth,” the plaque reads. “The above-named member of this local union, with presence of mind, prompt action and genuine concern for another human being, performed this heroic service on the date specified. All members of the IBEW honor this distinguished service.”