'Power of Life' campaign growing beyond schools   

By Jennifer Lassiter
star staff

ÊÊ  "Power of Life" and Mountain States Health Alliance continue their campaign with their most recent contribution of two Automated External Defibrillators to the Elizabethton Boys and Girls Club and Little Milligan Elementary School.
  The "Power of Life" campaign started less than a year ago after Gary Smith, 48, suffered a massive heart attack while refereeing at a Happy Valley basketball game. Within four minutes, the West Carter County Fire Department arrived with an AED, which saved his life.
  AEDs are used to deliver an electrical shock to persons in cardiac arrest and have been shown to decrease mortality when used in conjunction with cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  Since then, Smith has continued his involvement in youth sports, and the "Power of Life" campaign. The goal is to raise money to purchase AEDs for all Carter County schools. Mountain States Health Alliance teamed up with Smith and others by matching the money donated.
   The most recent AED donation has been to the Elizabethton Boys and Girls Club. The money was raised by the Kiwanis Club. Once again, MSHA matched the money raised and added another Carter County school, Little Milligan Elementary, to the list of four others that have received AED donations since the campaign started. The Lions Club also contributed a sizable donation toward the "Power of Life" campaign.
  John Maloney, director of the Elizabethton Boys and Girls Club, accepted the donation. "It brings a peace of mind knowing now we have the capability to save a life," he said.
  Johnny Mills, a Boys and Girls Club board member, was also present during the formal acceptance. "A lot of parents and grandparents are excited to see participation, and having the AEDs is a good safety feature to have. It's not the kids you worry about," said Mills.
  Meredith Trott, vocational director for the Carter County School System, accepted the AED on behalf of Little Milligan Elementary School. Since the "Power of Life" program started, five schools now have AEDs. In every facility the AEDs have been placed, several faculty members have been trained to use the new equipment.
  The programs have extended to several schools with AEDs forming Emergency Response teams. The teams are to provide assistance and practice drills for a real emergency.
  The American Heart Association is now working closely with "Power of Life" team members to possibly get AEDs in local Senior Citizens Centers and city and county police cars. "American Heart Association is showing us the road to take," said Smith.
  To contribute to the "Power of Life," mail donations or contact: Carter County Bank, c/o Elizabeth Carver, Main Office, 601 East Elk Avenue, Elizabethton, TN 37643.
  "This is an ongoing process," said Smith. "American Heart Association is showing us avenues to start expanding beyond schools and move to other parts of the county."