Terry Jenik signed up for training with the American Red Cross because of one person — and it led to her saving the life of another person. After a scare when Terry’s grandmother took a fall, her friend, Bernie Binetti, talked her into taking a Red Cross class, CPR/First Aid. Terry then became a Red Cross volunteer, a volunteer Fire Department EMT — and ultimately a lifesaver.
On July 19, 2021, Terry, who lives in Suffolk County, was on a weekly night out with friends of the Long Island Harley Owners Group at their favorite restaurant. When Terry arrived, she noticed their regular server was sitting at a table, looking pale and unwell. Concerned, Terry went over to ask if the woman was all right. Then, without warning, the server passed out in Terry’s arms and remained unconscious for a few minutes. 911 was called. Paramedics arrived and took the server to the ambulance. Several minutes later the server came back to work, saying she felt better and had refused medical transport.
A little while later there was a commotion as the server again passed out. Terry was called over to help and saw that the server was both unconscious and not breathing. Terry’s training immediately kicked in: She took charge of the situation, had 911 called and then reassessed the condition of the server. Without hesitation and with no regard for her own personal safety during the COVID pandemic, Terry delivered three mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths. The woman soon started to breathe again and regained consciousness.
In recognition of her heroic actions, Terry received the Certificate of Merit during a Red Cross Month celebration on March 29 in Suffolk County on Long Island. This is the highest honor given by the American Red Cross to an individual who used their skills and knowledge to sustain a life. The certificate is signed by the President of the United States, who serves as the honorary chairman of the Red Cross, and by Bonnie McElveen Hunter, chair of the Board of Governors.
During his introduction of Terry, Deputy County Executive Jon Kaiman shared, “One person represents not only several others, but thousands of others. Anyone who takes the time to take the class, learn how to help others, learn how to save lives ±. you represent something that is larger than ourselves. What you did gives us hope and gives us a level of respect and appreciation for what we, any one of us, can do if we take the time to participate, to join, to learn, and especially to be part of an organization like the Red Cross. Being a representative in that regard, this one act, selfless important act you did, is in recognition of all who stand with you… Somebody else’s life will be saved one day due to your impact.”
Terry was joined by her parents, friends, and fellow volunteers as she accepted the award.
“I only did one thing for one person,” she said, “but I did that because of the Red Cross. There is a long tradition of the Red Cross helping the community in ways you will never know. If my name can be attached to that, I am proud to be part of that.”
Thank you, Terry, for your lifesaving efforts and for being part of our Red Cross team!
You can learn lifesaving skills by signing up for a lifesaving class at www.redcross.org/class.
Know someone who saved a life? Nominate them for an award at www.lifesavingawards.org.