ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. – Kelly Muldoon took a CPR class at St. Mary’s College of Maryland under the instruction of Assistant Director/Captain of Public Safety Christopher Coons back in 2019. She assumed the class could assist her in coming to the aid of a student at the Wellness Center, where she works as a therapist. She contacted Coons last week to inform him that those few hours of instruction wound up saving her sister’s life.

Kelly said Michelle was visiting Maryland from Pennsylvania, and during a recent outing in Leonardtown, the sisters were eating at a local deli when Michelle suddenly seemed in distress.

“All of a sudden she started turning red,” Kelly said.

Michelle began crossing her hands across her chest, signaling that she was choking. Kelly asked her sister if she needed the Heimlich maneuver, and Michelle indicated she did. Kelly then performed three abdominal thrusts, successfully dislodging from her airway part of the sandwich Michelle had been eating.

“Thank God I did that training,” Muldoon said in a phone interview a few days later.
She said it wasn’t difficult to jump into action because she was equipped with the knowledge on how to help.

A few deep breaths and several glasses of water later, Michelle was feeling better and the sisters were able to go about the rest of their visit together. Muldoon, however, felt compelled to do one last thing regarding the incident —  thank her instructor. She said she knew Coons was simply doing his job when he instructed the course but she wanted him to know just how his actions saved a life.

Coons said it felt nice to hear from Muldoon and while he admitted CPR training is one of those skills he hopes never needs to be used, it was a great feeling to know that one of his trainees helped someone in need.

“Our goal in teaching these courses is to provide the knowledge and skills that will allow the participant to feel comfortable if they need to help someone.”

The CPR courses taught through Public Safety are set up in a hybrid style. The first half of the course is completed online and the second half of the course in person.  The CPR certification is good for two years.

Courses for the 2021-2022 academic year have not yet been scheduled. Coons said to watch for announcements in coming months on InsideSMCM and the College’s website.