AAFES Associates Receive Red Cross Honor for Live-Saving Actions
NELLIS AFB, Nev.
Two Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) associates were honored with Certificates of Merit, signed by President Biden, from the American Red Cross during a ceremony here at the base’s exchange on May 25.
PowerZone Supervisor Ikaipo Atienza and Customer Service Supervisor Alan Timbol were recognized for their actions in December, when a military retiree was found unconscious at the installation’s mall.
Their actions saved the shopper’s life, and both associates received certificates from the Red Cross and coins from Exchange Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tom Shull and Exchange Chief Operating Officer (COO) Jason Rosenberg during the ceremony.
“You represent the best of humanity,” Shull said. “What you did to save a life was amazing. You truly live out the Exchange’s core value of the courage to use good judgment. Your efforts will surely inspire others to act on their own accord.”
The Certificate of Merit has been awarded since 1911 and is the highest award given to individuals who save or sustain a life using skills learned in a Red Cross Training Services course.
During the medical emergency, Atienza performed CPR on the shopper and used an automated external defibrillator as Timbol assisted. Paramedics arrived, took over treatment and transported the patient to the hospital.
The next day, the associates learned that the patient had survived and that their actions helped save his life.
“Lots of thoughts and things were going through my mind,” Atienza said. “There’s no book, no how-to, you’re just going. You just have to remember your training and be grounded in your fundamentals. I don’t do this for an award. I don’t do this for recognition. I just do it because I care.”
Both associates were trained in Red Cross life-saving techniques. Atienza was trained by the Exchange and Timbol was trained in the Marine Corps.
“It’s really hard when they issue a Code Blue,” Timbol said. “You’ve got some people who think, ‘Oh, it can’t be that bad.’ But you have to put some thought into it and think, ‘This might be the call.’ It was definitely something that took me back to my experiences in the military.”
SUPPORTING THE MISSION
Exchange Chief Operating Officer Jason Rosenberg said the associates’ actions were inspirational. “You inspire us every day, truly, with what you did,” he said.
Atienza and Timbol also received coins from Col. Anthony Figiera, commander of the 99th Mission Support Group.
“The military and the Air Force have a big mission here, and we can’t do it without our mission partners,” Figiera said. “AAFES is a huge partner for us. I’m proud every day when I get up and put on this uniform to support this mission, and I’m proud to work with such great teammates like the folks at AAFES who take care of our families and take care of those who are serving.”
Edited by Larry Lapka