TORRINGTON, Conn. --
Airmen from the 103rd Medical Group visited Torrington High School to teach students CPR and educate them on some of the opportunities the Connecticut Air National Guard has to offer.
Seven classes of 30-40 students received instruction from a team led by Master Sgt. Darrel Hanrahan, an Aerospace Medical Technician assigned to the 103rd Medical Group, who said that the course is a great way for the Guard to engage with the community.
“It’s a great tool to get us out there,” Hanrahan said. “They see us in uniform; they see us actually teaching them skills that are very helpful for the community.”
The CPR class was coordinated between Katie Gregory, Torrington High School’s Physical Education Coordinator, Master Sgt. (Ret.) Robert Sullivan, a Junior ROTC Instructor at Torrington High School, Technical Sergeant Todd A. Wilkinson, a Production Recruiter and Retainer assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing, and Hanrahan, and helps students meet one of their educational requirements while learning from new faces.
“CPR and first aid is now a mandated item that we have to go over for health and physical education every year,” Gregory said. “Especially coming from the [military] side, you guys have other experience you can talk to them about and give them examples or stories that correspond or go along with what you’re talking about.”
This type of interaction between students and Guard members also sets it apart from a typical recruiting visit, Wilkinson said.
“In an opportunity like this, we get the kids to see that this is us, we’re in uniform, here’s the things that we do in the Air Guard,” Wilkinson said. “It kind of breaks down the barriers of what people think military members do as a whole.”
These interactions can be positive guidance for students as well, Gregory said.
“After we’ve had these outside groups come in and do the CPR training or whatever it may be, our kids have come up to you guys after and asked different questions about career paths and colleges and what you guys have been through,” Gregory said.
According to Hanrahan and Wilkinson, the training was rewarding for the students and instructors alike.
“I enjoy teaching them,” Hanrahan said. “A lot of them come in actually not knowing any CPR in general. By the time they leave, they’re able to do the skills we’ve taught them.”
“The reactions and feedback [the Airmen] are getting from them, it seems like it’s something they’re going to take away,” Wilkinson said. “In the limited conversations I’ve had with the instructors here, they feel like it’s something that they would like us to come back and hopefully support again.”