MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The Israeli Scout Caravan has come to Mahopac each spring for the past several years to put on shows at the elementary schools and Temple Beth Shalom to teach about the arts, wilderness survival and education. There’s a little song and dance tossed in as well.
But this year, the Israeli Scouts gave a demonstration on how to be a hero when one of the Lakeview Elementary School staff members suffered a heart attack.
On Tuesday morning, June 11, the Scouts were setting up for their performance at Lakeview when the unexpected happened.
“At around 7:40, a guy comes out of the library and asks if anyone knows CPR. He looked white and all shook up,” said Kjersten Lazar, co-chair of Temple Beth Shalom’s Israeli Scouts committee, which helps bring the Scouts to the U.S. “I took off like a shot and called Dor! Amit! CPR! We need you now!”
Dor Shatil and Amit Hatan are two of the Israeli Scouts who were helping to set up for the show.
“They came sprinting down the hallway,” Lazar said. “They went right in and calmly took care of the situation. They are both highly trained.”
Lazar said the ironic thing is that the Scouts were not originally supposed to be at Lakeview on that day.
“We were not supposed to be there on the 11th; we were supposed to be there a week earlier, but Lakeview had to reschedule,” she said. “It just worked out that way. It was meant to be, and these guardian angels were there. The whole school is just over-the-top about them.”
Shatil, 23, said that when they heard the call for CPR, they got to the library as quickly as they could.
“We ran to the library and saw that she wasn’t reacting to anything,” she said. “She was sitting in a chair and we took her down to the floor. She was blue and couldn’t breathe. We were both in the army and we learned in high school how to do CPR.”
Shatil said they did massage to try to open the woman’s airway and get her to breathe better.
“I checked her pulse and wasn’t getting much,” Shatil said. “It was there but very small.”
Hatan, 24, said helping out in a crisis comes naturally to Israelis.
“In Israel, if there is a problem or an emergency, you come to help, no matter what,” he said.
As the two Scouts worked on the victim, one of the school’s sports coaches came in with defibrillator paddles, which the Scouts employed.
“It was only five minutes before the ambulance came and took over but it seemed like so long,” Shatil said.
After the ambulance left with the patient, Hatan and Shatil had time to reflect on what had just happened.
“Both of us were in shock; we didn’t know how to react,” Shatil said. “We asked the principal if we should still do the show and she said do it to calm [the students] down. Let’s do the show; this is what we need, we need to dance, we need to smile. That helped us a little bit to get out of the shock. We are glad we were there to help with whatever we could.”
The school district has not released the name of the employee, who works in the Lakeview library, or her condition.