A life was saved Sunday afternoon at Lake Claiborne when a Dubberly resident put her training to use at the right time.
"Me and my family had just pulled up at the lake swimming area," hero Haley Humphreys Monroe said. "I got out of the car and I heard someone yell, 'Why wasn't any one watching her?'"
Monroe said because she is a mother of two, ages four years old and 10 months old, the statement she heard caught her attention and caused her to look at her surroundings. What Monroe saw changed the course of life for a three-year-old girl.
"I turned to look, and her dad is bring her up out of the water, " Monroe said. "So I ran over there and the dad was beside her saying 'She isn't breathing.'"
The child was on her side at the time, and as the dad rolled her on her back Monroe saw that the child was blue.
Monroe, 22, began Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, which she learned during her practical nurse training at Northwest Louisiana Technical College in Minden.
"I gave her two breaths and started compressions, and the water started coming out of her mouth. I rolled her on her side, the water was still coming out," she said. "Then I rolled her on her back once more, gave two more breaths and did compressions again. The water really started coming up, a lot of it."
After rolling the child on her side and a third round of compressions, the toddler became conscious.
"Her eyes were rolling around ... It was really scary," Monroe said. "As soon as she took that first breath, the blue disappeared – just like that."
Monroe was the only person at the scene who knew CPR.
"I hate to think about what would have happened if I didn't know CPR. She would have been in bad shape."
An ambulance was called moments after the child was pulled from the water, and she was taken to Homer Memorial Hospital. However, the rural location of Lake Claiborne meant delayed arrival time for emergency responders.
Monroe said it took the ambulance about 15 minutes to arrive on the scene, and that would have been too long.
"Brain death happens after 10 minutes without oxygen," said Cathy Maddry, who is the Health Occupations Department Head at NWLTC.
"You never know when that instruction from Vo-tech is going to be put to work saving someone's life," said Maddry who has been teaching for 17 years. "The most important thing we teach our students is to save lives. You might think CPR is no big deal, but it is a really big deal."
Maddry said everyone from Monroe's fellow students to administrators of the college are extremely proud of Monroe's action.
"Her training kicked and she was able to put it to action," she said. "It just proves that she is a natural nurse."
Monroe has two semesters left to complete before graduating. After that she hopes to go to work.
"I have always wanted to work with the elderly, but after this experience, I could see myself working emergencies," Monroe said. "This experience was life changing. I thought about so many things; I couldn't sleep that night.
"People keep telling me I saved a life, and that is hard for me to wrap my head around. It is still so unreal to me," she continued. "I just know that God put me there, at that very moment for that reason."
Monroe says she cannot stop thinking about the child she rescued, and the whole experience has dramatically affected her.
"I will remember that day and the little girl's face for a long time, probably the rest of my life," she said.