Red Cross honors Shrewsbury YMCA employee for swift lifesaving action

Noel Miller
York Dispatch

A York County aquatics instructor is being honored for saving a life last year.

When a pickleball player at the W. Dale Brougher Foundation YMCA went into cardiac arrest, Serena Fisher restarted his heart using an AED and CPR to revive him last April.

"That day, I was in a meeting, and I heard my name being hollered down the hallway. So, I literally got up, threw my things down and went off in the direction of my name being called," said Fisher, 42, of Red Lion, adding that someone had already gone to grab the AED while another person gave the man rescue breaths.

Her boss, Travis Bowman, the YMCA's sports and aquatics director, had been in a meeting with her at the time of the emergency and witnessed her actions firsthand, later nominating her for one of three types of Red Cross National Lifesaving awards given to fewer than 2,000 people each year.

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Fisher immediately used the AED to shock his heart and then went into CPR, she said. He was revived before the EMS arrived and even wanted to get up and move around. Although she had him stay put until EMS arrived, the man is doing well, she said.

The Red Cross honored Serena Fisher for her life saving actions in April 2022, where she revived a pickleball player who went into cardiac arrest.

Fisher has worked in aquatics for 25 years and has served as the Shrewsbury YMCA aquatic director for the past five years. She has been CPR certified since she was 15. Working in and around water is great, Fisher said, but also brings potential dangers. Fisher tends to think about her job in terms of safety issues so she is always prepared, she said.

When the incident happened, she wasn't scared, she said.

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"I think I keep pretty calm in an emergency. Because I train with it so much, I have more hands on [experience]," Fisher said. "I'm able to multitask and still make sure everything's kind of running smoothly and kind of go from it."

Even though she prefers not to be in the limelight, Fisher is honored to receive the Red Cross Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action.

"I feel very humbled," she said. "I take what I do very seriously because you can save someone's life in that action."

The Shrewsbury YMCA has a large pickleball following, Bowman said, and several of the man's pickleball teammates asked Fisher to teach them CPR so they could be certified if anything happened to their teammate again. The members were certified just months after the incident, Bowman said.

This isn't even the first time Fisher has saved a life with her CPR training. A few years ago, she was in a similar situation although more intense, she said. However, like the incident in April, by using an AED and CPR, the individual was revived.

To learn more about the Red Cross awards and what they stand for, visit www.redcross.org/take-a-class/lifesaving.

— Reach Noel Miller at NMiller3@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @TheNoelM.