Kent County Schools Receive Life-Saving Gift

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KENT COUNTY, Mich. – Ten schools across Kent County received a potentially life-saving gift on Wednesday.

The donation of 10 automatic external defibrillators happened thanks to more than $10,000 that was raised at a Gus Macker Tournament through Metro Health Village.

One of those schools was Challenger Elementary in Kentwood.

“It feels great,” Mark Bea, Principal of Challenger Elementary said. “It’s one of those things where you hope that we’re never gonna need to use, but it’s good to have one available in case you do need to use it.”

Bea said the staff at the school will be trained to use the machine should an emergency occur.

The push to get life-saving devices in all schools began when Fennville High School student, Wes Leonard died in 2011, after going into cardiac arrest on the basketball court. With no AED in the building that day, Leonard’s coach, Ryan Klingler, along with countless others, made it their mission to never have another person wonder, if they could’ve saved a life.

“At Fennville, we weren’t prepared,” Klinger said. “I don’t want a teacher, an administrator, a parent…to feel how I feel two and half years later still.”

Although principal Bea said he hopes to never use the device on a student at his school, he said he’s grateful for people, like coach Klinger and local hospitals, for giving them what could be a life-saving gift.

“It’s difficult to get out hands on wonderful, life-saving devices like this,” Bea said. “We just don’t have the funds to be able to do that so we’re just so thankful that they included us in it and have provided an invaluable resource to our children to help save their life.”

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