A virtue of achievement is its capacity to serve as an example.
Lifesaver Awards were presented to nine people Tuesday by the Heart of Missouri Chapter of the American Red Cross. In addition, the chapter honored its Volunteer of the Year.
The honorees represent both trained professionals and ordinary people who encountered extraordinary circumstances, as well as committed volunteers.
Among the trained professionals are a law enforcement officer, firefighter, physician, paramedic, emergency medical technician and military veteran.
Although some dangerous situations are best handled by professionals, their stories indicated that practical training can save lives.
Dr. Rick Bohanan - a Columbia dentist who received the Medical Lifesaver Award - was bicycling with a friend who collapsed.
As a result of his American Red Cross CPR certification, the dentist performed the procedure on his friend until paramedics arrived.
Another story recounts how a snowplow driver for the Boone County Public Works Department was called upon to respond to a life-or-death situation.
Brandon Irwin received the Good Samaritan Lifesaver Award for clearing a 21â„2-mile path to the hospital for an ambulance carrying a heart attack victim.
A third story acknowledges the longtime commitment of a Jefferson City blood donor.
Steve Duncan earned the Blood Services Lifesaver Award for donating 126 units during his 40 years as a donor. The volume is capable of saving 378 lives, according to the Red Cross.
The Red Cross offers: courses in life-saving skills, including first aid and CPR; specified instruction, including training for baby sitters and lifeguards; and volunteer opportunities, including blood donation and disaster response.
We cannot know if and when we may be called on to react to a life-or-death situation.
What we do know is - by following the examples of the Lifesaver Award winners - we can be prepared.