The Board of the Heart Smart Foundation, a local nonprofit dedicated to distributing automatic external defibrillators, donated two automatic external defibrillators to Anne Arundel Community College.
“We are grateful to HeartSmart for their generous donation,” says Maurice L. Chaput, executive director of administrative services at AACC. “Just as importantly, their effort made us realize that we need to go even further in the future. Going forward, AEDs will be installed in every new building and renovation project AACC undertakes.”
The units have been placed in the Center for Applied Learning and Technology (CALT) and Florestano buildings and mounted in public locations for emergency use. The college already has defibrillators in the Jenkins Gymnasium and the Olson Memorial Pool. In addition, both the Department of Police and Public Safety and the Nurse’s office have portable units.
The HeartSmart Foundation was begun as a Leadership Anne Arundel project. The original mission was to raise funds to put an AED in the County Council Chambers in honor of former Councilman Cliff Roop, who died from a heart attack during a council meeting in January 2000. They ended up with three AEDs that first year. They were so successful, the group decided to continue after the Leadership Anne Arundel project was completed. The group incorporated as the Cliff R. Roop Cardiac Support Education Foundation in 2002, with a mission to make the county a heart-safe community.
“Our passion for the mission keeps us motivated because you hear these stories of people who’ve been helped,” says Kenneth Brannan of HeartSmart. “We know of at least seven people who are alive and walking around Anne Arundel County today because of these AEDs. That just means so much.”
The foundation tries to place AEDs in public places, Brannan says, but also has a matching grant program to help others obtain an AED. He estimated the foundation has placed more than 100 AEDs in the county, as well as provided grants for organizations both locally and in other states.
The foundation received funding for the AACC AEDs from the Severna Park Health Association, a nonprofit organization. Patrick Pyles, a member of the Severna Park Health Association Board of Directors, said the association donates all profits each year to nonprofits with a medical connection. HeartSmart was one of four groups that received funding last year.