That evening, a man collapsed on a bench after his workout on the second floor walking track. Kreta Gladden, another Joplin Family Y member, saw him slumped over and rushed downstairs to the front desk to get help.
"When I told Cleo [Nunnelly] to call 911, she immediately responded with, 'You call--I'm trained for this.' And with that, she went upstairs to save a man's life! I couldn't believe how she stayed calm and kept her composure."
When Nunnelly arrived at the scene, other Y members were helping the man to the floor. She checked the man’s breathing and found it very faint.
“Immediately, training I had received at the Joplin Family YMCA 6 months prior, clicked in my mind,” Nunnelly said.
The man let out what witnesses described as “what sounded like a final breath,” and then there was nothing.
With no time to lose, Nunnelly began CPR first with chest compressions and then with chest compressions and rescue breaths. After two minutes of CPR, the man started breathing again.
“I sat there holding his head and just listening to the breath,” Nunnelly said. “It was surreal. I couldn’t believe what had just happened.”
Soon thereafter, the paramedics arrived and took over medical care for the patient, allowing Nunnelly to return to her regular station greeting members at the front desk.
“You never expect to actually have to use that [CPR/First Aid] training,” Nunnelly said. “When I got trained, I was stoked, but I didn’t think the time would ever come that I would legitimately have to put my training to use. When the time came, it was out of the blue and completely unexpected. Had I not been trained, it could have ended completely differently.”