Glenn Hodges staggered from the porch into his Lenexa home and collapsed, as he suffered a heart attack. That’s when his wife, Carolyn, snapped into action on that May day.
She called 911, and when the operator asked her if she knew CPR, her decades-old Girl Scout leader training came to mind. Carolyn was able to keep Glenn going until the ambulance arrived, and after his hospital stay and subsequent recovery, the couple decided to express their thanks to the Girl Scouts.
The Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri recently announced an annual gift of $5,000 from the Hodgeses to go toward grants to pay for CPR training for scouts and scout leaders in the region. Glenn referred to the gift as the Carolyn Hodges Great Save Fund.
Although the Girls Scouts are still working out the details of how they’ll distribute the money, the basic idea is that troops will apply to the regional council when they want to sign up for CPR training. The gift will pay 50 percent of the cost toward that training for each individual approved for a grant.
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“We knew it was hard for the girls and leaders to get training,” Carolyn said. “I don’t know what the price is these days, but I know it’s not cheap.”
Gina Garvin, vice president of brand and marketing for Girl Scouts in the area, estimated that the money would assist 200 people each year in getting CPR training. To take a group of Girl Scouts on a field trip or a camping expedition, a leader must be certified in first aid and CPR.
“It’s an expense the volunteers and troops have had to take on. This is a way to have it underwritten,” Garvin said.
That’s why Carolyn Hodges got her certification: From the mid-’70s to the late ’80s, she helped lead a troop at Rosehill Elementary in the Shawnee Mission School District. She also has helped out more recently at Camp Prairie Schooner in Kansas City, where a ceremony to announce the gift took place last week.
Using her CPR training after so many years “was like riding a bicycle,” Carolyn said.
At the ceremony, the couple received a letter of appreciation from Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts USA. In the letter, Chávez said, “By remaining calm, taking charge and performing lifesaving CPR in the midst of a crisis, you demonstrated to our entire movement the values and ideals we strive to instill in girls every day.”
All four of the Hodges daughters, Diane, Cheryl, Christy and Janice, have been Girl Scouts and were able to be at the announcement. Cheryl is a leader with Troop 471 from Gardner, and seven girls from the troop, including her daughter Samantha Marcotte, were present at the ceremony. Eight other girls from Troop 1248 in Lee’s Summit also attended the gathering.
The northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri region encapsulates 47 counties and includes all of the Kansas City area, as well as Manhattan, Topeka, Lawrence and St. Joseph. Troops from this region will be able to apply for the grants.
Garvin said the Girl Scouts are hoping to start the application process for troops as early as September.
The Hodges family also has another CPR story. In the late 1960s, Glenn worked with emergency medical workers in Ohio as part of a pilot project.
The project postulated that patients would have a higher survival rate if emergency workers performed CPR on them immediately, rather than just rushing the patients to the hospital.
“Information gained from that project led to the development of the EMS as it is today. Little did I know I’d benefit from it,” Glenn said. “We decided we’d like to do something for Girl Scouts that pulled this all together.”