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Folks You Should Know: John Tickle

Cindy Harmon • Jul 2, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Imagine playing golf, hearing a commotion, looking over at a nearby tee box and seeing a man down on the ground with people yelling and attempting to attend to him. Then imagine what you would do. What could you do? On July 29, 2011, at a golf tournament in Linville, N.C., John Tickle found himself facing that predicament.

"I told my playing partner I had just re-certified in CPR about a week and a half prior, so I jumped in my cart and went to see if I could help," Tickle, chairman of the board for the Strongwell Corporation of Bristol, Va., recalled.

Tickle, who had never done Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation in a real life or death situation before, performed the procedure on David Riggins for 30 minutes with only one short break.

"I could tell he was moving his eyes and trying to make motions and talk, so I knew I was getting oxygen to his brain," Tickle said.

And although two physicians on-site proclaimed Riggins had no pulse, Tickle persevered.

"I knew he wasn’t conscious but I thought there was some life left in him and, through my training, I knew the lifesaving crew would have medicine they could shoot in him to get his heart going, so if I could keep oxygen to his brain he may not have brain damage," Tickle stated.

When the lifesaving crew got there, they too said Riggins was gone. But since Tickle had started CPR, they had to continue it. One of the doctors administered the medicine and Riggins was taken to Johnson City Medical Center.

Tickle’s tenacity paid off and, by the grace of God, Riggins has made a complete recovery.

"I was in the right place at the right time and so was he," Tickle said with a smile.

For demonstrating heroism and skill in saving a life, the 70-year-old Tickle earned The Heroism Award from the National Court of Honor of the Boy Scouts of America.

"I learned a lot of skills like artificial respiration through Boy Scouts and if I hadn’t had a Scouting background that would have never happened. Scouting also taught me morals and I still try to lead my life by The Scout Law," Tickle said.

Tickle’s Heroism Award medal and certificate was presented at the June meeting of the Sequoyah Council Executive Board at Camp Davy Crockett - by none other than the man he helped save, David Riggins.

"I didn’t know he was going to be there actually, so it surprised me. He’s doing great. His wife was with him and we hugged. My wife, sons and grandsons were there too, so it was neat," Tickle said.

As a young man, Tickle earned the rank of Eagle Scout as a member of Troop 8 sponsored by the State Street Methodist Church in Bristol, Va. He has served as president of the Sequoyah Council BSA and is a long-time member of the executive board. He is grateful for the opportunities afforded to him by Scouting and thankful for the things he learned.

"I was very fortunate to have parents and a Scout leader that encouraged me to continue my Scouting," he added. "You can’t find a better program to be in. I wish more young people would get involved."

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