Six Appalachian Ski Mountain National Ski Patrol members received National Ski Patrol awards for saving a life this past winter.
A 44-year-old woman from Naples, Fla., on a family vacation, collapsed at the base of the slopes at Appalachian, Jan. 3, 2008.
Patrollers Joe LaCroix, John Whitener, and Tony Ray were first on the scene and found the guest pulseless and not breathing. They used an automatic external defibrillator to apply three shocks over six minutes, and restored a heart rhythm. The patient was transported to Watauga Medical Center, and made a full recovery.
A local attending physician said, "In my opinion and the opinion of others who later cared for her, this lady would not have survived had it not been for the quick action of the Ski Patrol. Through the rapid response of these professionals, a tragedy was averted."
LaCroix, Whitener, and Ray received Purple Merit Stars, the NSP's highest merit award for life saving. Patrollers Joe Donadio and Chris Martin received Blue Merit Stars and Patroller Mark Latendresse, a Yellow Merit Star for assisting.
LaCroix is a Flight Nurse for Med Center Air based out of Charlotte Medical Center. Whitener is a paramedic for Catawba County EMS. Ray is an EMT and Battalion Chief for the Charlotte Fire Department. Donadio, Martin, and Latendresse are EMTs and Professional Ski Patrol at Appalachian Ski Mountain.
Appalachian Ski Patrol Director Joe Donadio also received the award for National and Southern Division Outstanding Patrol Director. Donadio is a 21-year member of the Appalachian Ski Patrol and has been Ski Patrol Director for nine years.
The National and Southern Division Outstanding Pro Patroller Awards were given to Martin, a seven-year member of the Appalachian Patrol.
Amy Norwood won the Outstanding Young Adult Patroller award.
The Southern Division has 1,200 members and 19 patrols in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The National Ski Patrol comprises 26,000 members serving 600 patrols.