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Heart Awareness 
By Lisa Carroll, Staff Writer 

Heart Awareness is a family-based business providing CPR and First Aid Training under the American Heart Association. Don and Debbie Manley, along with Don’s son, Kevin, created the business 2 years ago in order to meet the needs of professional responders and rescuers, school staff and daycare providers, healthcare providers, and the general public.

Don, who moved to this area from Cornelius, Oregon, first realized the importance of CPR and First Aid training in the mid 80’s, when his 2 year old son choked on a chicken bone while eating dinner. “The bone was caught in his throat,” Don shared, “and our local fire department showed up to help. We ended up taking him to the hospital to have it removed.” Because of this frightening experience, Don gained an appreciation for EMT’s and realized the importance of CPR training for everybody. Inspired, he joined the Cornelius Fire Department shortly after.
Heart Awareness
Don Manley demonstrates CPR techniques to students. Don is known for his patience, and the ability to convey the information in an easy to understand manner. 

After moving to the area in 1997, Don joined the Charleston Fire Department in 2000. He loves the area because of the temperate climate, and he appreciated the down-to-earth people here so much he married one. Don and Debbie first met because they each had sons participating in the Marshfield High School Bowling League. They started talking to each other at meets and tournaments, became friends, fell in love, and got married in 2003.

Don had noticed there were not many CPR instructors for our area, which led him to teaching the classes. ““I believe everybody should have CPR training because you don’t know what’s going to happen, and this especially true of young parents. So, I became an instructor about 10 years ago,” he told me. Debbie took her EMR training, which includes CPR, 6 years ago after seeing how much it meant to her husband. “I realized I wanted to be able to help people, too. In an emergency, the sooner you start CPR, the better chance there is that you will save a life” 

One thing people like about the classes offered by Heart Awareness is Don’s ability to convey the information in  clear language. Day care provider Sherry Prosa recently completed her CPR and First Aid re-certification training with Heart Awareness, and she had nothing but good things to say about the class. She shared, “I’ve taken many classes from various agencies, but this CPR class was the easiest to understand. I really enjoyed Don’s down-to-earth manner. He explained it in a way we can understand and easily recall. This class is geared for the layperson- it’s not too technical. The instruction was broken down in steps in such a way that when it came time to apply it, it all came together so easily. It just made so much sense.”

Don enjoys working with the community and is sensitive to individual needs. “I try to tailor the classes to the group I am with. School bus drivers, day care workers, and emergency medical responders have specific things they need to learn, so there is different focus for different groups, though we always stay within the required learning guidelines. We try to do at least once class a month, and I try to be flexible with class times to accommodate people and their schedules.” The classes are very interactive, with lots of discussion and all the hands on training a person will need to feel confident they have learned the material. “We want to make sure everybody knows what they are doing, so the length of the class depends on the people in the class. Some catch on quicker, but if people need more time, then they get all the time they need,” Don assured me. “We do whatever it takes to ensure they learn CPR.”

The classes are not just for professionals. Don recommends everybody take the Heart Saver/First Aid course, “It’s very simple to do, and you can save a life with it.”  In Don’s work with the fire department and a local business, he has had many opportunities to save lives, and has had instances of people saved come up to him later to thank him. “It’s a good feeling. I really love what we do.”  Debbie, who handles the business end of the classes, shares the same feeling “We like helping the community. We’re actually helping people save lives.”

Heart Awareness offers the following training: American Heart Association Health Care Provider CPR, Heart Saver CPR/First Aid, which included Adult, Child, and Infants, as well as AED training. The classes are great for daycare providers, caregivers, teachers, and families. To learn more, or to register for classes, call 541-888-6202.

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