Embassy Suites Employees Honored by Red Cross After Saving Colleague’s Life

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Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront employees David Thrailkill and Amit Raj, along with their colleague and Red Cross CPR instructor Darryl Smalley (from left to right) were recognized with the Red Cross Lifesaving Award in January.

CPR and first aid classes are something that so many of us are mandated to do in our respective fields. It can become something that we dread if we already feel proficient and have been re-certified countless times. There are times, however, that this class proves most useful and ultimately saves a life.

For years, Darryl Smalley, the security manager of Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront, has been certifying his employees in CPR and first aid. By providing this service to them, Darryl was able to equip two employees with the skills and knowledge that they needed to save a friend and coworker.

On Thursday, June 6, 2019, at about 8 a.m., David Thrailkill, the guest services manager, was walking down the hallway and found his coworker flat on his face, tucked behind a cart in cardiac arrest. David had seen him just 30 minutes prior on the roof of the hotel where they work. He radioed out to Amit Raj, the assistant chief engineer, for help and then called 911.

They had trouble rolling their colleague over because of how he was positioned. It took four people to roll him onto his back in order to start CPR.

The 911 operator gave step by step instructions on what they needed to do as Amit started CPR. There was no response for the first few minutes as David and Amit took turns.

The man gasped once — a sign that CPR was working. Compressions continued with slight gasps coming from the man they assisted as they waited for EMS to arrive. Eventually he was taken to an area hospital for care.

The Embassy Suites team was then assembled in the board room to discuss what had occurred. It was hard to go back over the incident so soon after it had happened, it was said. In the moment, there had been adrenaline and calm, there were tasks to do and composure had to be kept in order to save a life.

When David and Amit went to the hospital later that day, it was shocking to see their coworker in his present state. David and Amit had been preparing for the worst but they were relieved to see him conscious.

Months later, that day is not one that David or Amit will forget. “The CPR class is the best way that you could spend six hours of your day,” said David.

Other employees at the hotel have shown interest in becoming trained in CPR as well. This incident showed hotel staff how important it is to be prepared and to have a team that is well trained.

David and Amit were recognized by the American Red Cross in January with a national Lifesaver Award, signed by President Donald Trump, the honorary chairman of the Red Cross.

If you know someone who has saved a life after taking Red Cross CPR or first aid training, you can nominate them here.

Published by

American Red Cross Gold Country Region

The American Red Cross Gold Country Region serves the Sierra-Delta Chapter as well as the Northern California Chapter, a total of 26 counties.

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