The Athens Banner-Herald
WINDER — Although Lee Perkins no longer works in the medical field, she recently was recognized by the American Red Cross as a local Nurse Hero for her actions that helped to save toddler Tripp Halstead’s life.
Perkins received the recognition from the East Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross at its eighth annual Heroes Breakfast. She was recognized along with multiple others within a 14-county region.
It has been more than two years since Perkins worked as a nurse. Now she is the owner of Constance Manor in Winder, an event facility that has celebrations such as weddings and receptions.
She had no idea that her 10 years of experience in the medical field would be an invaluable tool in saving 2-year-old Tripp on Oct. 29. The boy was playing outside a day care facility next door to Constance Manor and was struck in the head by a large tree limb that fell because of winds associated with Hurricane Sandy.
“I was honored, and I appreciate the nomination,” Perkins said. “But I am more honored for the nurse recognition. Nurses do this (sort of thing) every day. I am just glad I happened to be in the right place, at the right time for (Tripp).”
Perkins said she was able to visit with the Halstead family a couple of days after the accident, but hasn’t seen Tripp since.
“I hope I never have to encounter something like that again,” she said about the incident. “It’s not easy when you aren’t in the (medical) environment. I didn’t have any other (medical professionals) there with me.”
Several people on scene, day care workers and one of Perkins’ employees, were instrumental in helping her, though.
“There were a lot of people (at the scene) that tuned in to what was going on,” she said. “They did what I told them to do, and an employee of mine was the one who called 911.”
A booklet passed out by the American Red Cross at the breakfast banquet highlighted each hero’s story.
“From her office window, Perkins could see that a child had been hurt. Instead of remaining in her office, she raced to the scene of the accident,” a section about Lee Perkins read.
“With overwhelming poise, Perkins took the necessary steps to stabilize (Tripp) by applying spinal pressure, obtaining an open airway and assisting in compressions and breathing until EMTs arrived. Lee Perkins’ bravery and quick decision to act saved Tripp Halstead’s life, and for this, there is no doubt that she is a Red Cross Hero.”
Tripp returned home March 29 after spending five months in hospital care. He has continued his recovery of ups and downs at home with his mother and father, Stacy and Bill Halstead.
The Halsteads continue to post updates on Tripp’s progress on his Facebook fan page. To follow it, go to www.facebook.com/TrippHalsteadUpdates .