Smyrna High School student and Clayton Fire Company junior member John Barkley spoke to students in a Smyrna High School life skills class Sept. 27 regarding his experience as a firefighter and lifesaving CPR on a four-year-old boy earlier this summer.
Barkley was at a party when he overheard a commotion across the street. A four-year-old was pulled from a pool and wasn't breathing. Barkley ran across the street and began CPR, ultimately saving the boy's life.
Since then Barkley has been honored several times by local and county government officials. He was recently given the Meritorious Award by the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter's Association for his life saving actions.
During the presentation Barkley talked about what it's like to be a firefighter, gave students a chance to try on the equipment and passed out Clayton Fire Company shirts. Students also asked Barkley several questions including what it was like to save a life.
"It's definitely changed my life as I now know what I'm capable of," Barkley said. "I don't think it'll hit me until I have a kid to know what it means for the other family."
One student asked how Barkley felt about winning awards since the drowning incident.
"It's an accomplishment but I feel bad. This is what I'm here do to. I'm not the only person who saves lives. There are other people who deserve these awards," Barkley said.
Some students wanted detailed information on Barkley's actions such as how he felt to see the boy pulled from the pool.
Barkley said he felt lifeless, and was shocked because he had never seen anything like it. Prior to the drowning, Barkley had taken part in CPR training and had been on calls where medical assistance was needed but he just watched.
When asked if he was glad he took CPR training, Barkley said yes because it allowed him to know what he needed to do in such a situation.
Later a student asked how the child is doing since the accident. Barkley said the boy was in the hospital for four days but made a full recovery and graduated from kindergarten.
Teacher Sharon Treherne said the life skills students were really excited for Barkley's visit. Treherne told Barkley the students were impressed that someone their age could save a life.
"Anybody can do it with the same training," he said. "It's definitely fun."
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.