On Sunday mornings, Gwendolyn McBride, RN, sits about three-quarters of the way back in Free Chapel’s auditorium-style sanctuary. She keeps an eye out to see if any members of the congregation have a health emergency.
She’s thankful that just outside the sanctuary, at the entrance to the church, is an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, that she can employ in case anyone suffers cardiac arrest. The church received the machine when they applied for a grant from the Spartanburg Regional Foundation. In May, the Foundation announced the investment of $40,000 for the purpose of providing AEDs for 25 local churches, schools and non-profit organizations.
Hangar B, held on September 28, is an annual celebration held at the Spartanburg Downtown Airport, raises money to support heart health in the community. Proceeds from this year’s event will go toward the purchase and donation of additional AEDs for community organizations.
“It’s huge that we have this program,” McBride said. “It’s such a gift.”
An AED works by scanning a person who may be experiencing sudden cardiac arrest and, if needed, delivering a shock to the person’s cardiovascular system. The machines come with straightforward instructions on how to apply the equipment to the chest.
McBride said 10 church members attended CPR and AED training conducted by Spartanburg Regional Heart Center staff. Training was provided for all of the AED recipients.
McBride, too, is an SRHS associate. She has been a nurse for more than 30 years and continues to work at Spartanburg Medical Center on a part-time basis as an IV specialist.
She coordinates the first-response team at Free Chapel and takes part in Spartanburg Regional’s congregational nursing program, which supports faith communities with health-related education, consultation, networking, and other resources. That’s how McBride learned about the Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s AED donation program and applied.
Congregational nurses – and life-saving equipment like AEDs – are important.
“People live life, and many people work, on church campuses. And sometimes things happen,” she said.
She applauds the Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s efforts to make AEDs more accessible throughout the community.
“It’s a great investment,” she said. “We know that we can save lives with this machine.”
For more information about Hangar B, or to buy tickets, please visit regionalfoundation.com/events/hangar-b.
To see a full list of the foundation’s 2017 AED recipients and to learn more about the program, please visit regionalfoundation.com/aeds-fund.