Saginaw, Mich. - Navy Councilor 1st Class Renee Barber, assigned to Navy Recruiting District Michigan, and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Hayden Cooper, assigned to Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Saginaw, saved the life of a Saginaw man April 23.

“I was driving home after work, I usually pick my daughter up but she had gotten a ride that day,” said Barber. “As I was going through an intersection when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a man walking across the road fall, I waited a minute and he didn’t get up.”

When the man did not get back up Barber turned her truck around and rushed over to see if he was okay.

“It was an immediate reaction to turn around and see if he was okay,” said Barber. “When I got out he was on the ground and no one was doing anything. He was conscious and breathing when I first got to him but then he stopped. That’s when I began doing CPR.”

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training is a requirement for all recruiters as they are responsible for the well-being of their Future Sailors and potential officer candidates. 

“The people around didn’t know what to do and were in shock,” said Barber. “I told someone to do chest compressions and I did the breathing. Then I felt someone tap me on my shoulder, it was HM2 Cooper.”

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Hayden Cooper, assigned to Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Saginaw, was driving home that day when he saw someone in Navy Uniform in the road.

“I parked as fast as I could and saw she was with someone laying on the ground,” said Cooper. “I tapped Barber on the shoulder to let her know I was there.”

“I first thought someone was hit by a car,” said Cooper. “I was going to check them out and grab my med bag but once I found out it was a heart condition I knew CPR was what needed to happen. She was giving respirations and I stepped in and started doing compressions.”

The man began to lose consciousness and went into agonal breathing shortly after Cooper arrived.

Agonal breathing commonly occurs with cardiac arrest or a stroke. A large scar on the man’s chest indicated that there may have been some previous cardiac issues.

“He began agonal breathing, then stopped, he was dead,” said Cooper. “Once I noticed the sputum, I had Barber stop giving breath and support his neck while I kept doing chest compressions and we were able to bring him back.”

Sputum is matter expectorated from the respiratory system and the lungs that is composed of mucus.

After resuscitating the man, the local Emergency Medical Team (EMS) and the Saginaw Police Department arrived and took the man to Saginaw Covenant Hospital.

“I couldn’t sleep for several days until I found out if he was okay,” said Barber. “I felt a big relief when I knew he was alive.”

Saginaw Police Department did confirm that the man had survived and was last reported in stable condition.

“If I wasn’t there I don’t know how quickly people would have helped out,” said Barber. “I don’t normally take that route home, I just happened to be there at the right time.”

“I’m glad that I have the training I do, I am grateful for all of the training the Navy has given me and that I was to help Barber to save a person’s life,” Said Cooper. “I am very proud to wear the uniform and it was really awesome to work with another Sailor to save somebody life.

Both Barber and Coopers Chain of Command will be reviewing their actions in consideration for recognition and awards.

“NC1 Barber is not only a great Sailor, she is also a fantastic citizen and representative of the outstanding women and men that serve in our Navy today,” said Cmdr. J. Wesley House, Commanding Officer, Navy Recruiting District Michigan. “We are proud to have her as a member of our Recruiting team in Michigan and Indiana.”

For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, visit us on the web,; on our Youtube channel, U.S. Navy Recruiter; on Facebook,; and on Twitter, @usnavyrecruiter.


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Updated March 1, 2017 (kbh)