Author: Jerry Higgins, Communications Officer
Tangi Jordan doesn’t know why she stopped her car in the rain and cold Feb. 18 morning on her way to work at the Lenoir Youth Development Center in Kinston. She just saw someone who needed help.
The facility director noticed several cars pulled off on the side of the road near State Highway 11 as she drove from her home in Winterville toward Greenville and Kinston. Jordan initially thought an accident had occurred but then she saw a large elderly man lying on the ground and a group of women near him.
“I saw three women look like they were performing CPR on him,” Jordan said. “They were all older women and they looked like they were exhausted. I told them I know CPR (from her Juvenile Justice training), got on my knees and took over for one lady.”
Stopping to help was something Jordan knew she had to do despite the fact the man was much larger than her and performing the proper compressions was going to be difficult.
“My adrenaline was flowing. It was difficult to lean over him and do the compressions right,” Jordan said. “His wife was there and did not want him to die. There was a man on the phone talking to 911 and another man giving breaths while I did compressions. I was in a zone and out of breath so, one lady counted as I did compressions.”
Local paramedics showed up about 10 minutes after Jordan started CPR. One of the paramedics took over for her and she left to head to work. Unfortunately, Jordan learned later that day when she spoke with the family that the man passed away at the hospital from a brain aneurysm. They thanked her for all she did in trying to save the man’s life.
“Although the family was sad, all of them expressed their deepest gratitude that I took the time to stop to help their loved one,” Jordan said. “The wife with tears in her eyes said, ‘… thank you most of all ‘cause your action gave me time to say goodbye. I know he felt me there.’”
In the 20 or so minutes between the incident site and Kinston, Jordan had plenty of time to reflect on her actions. She didn’t stop and think about the CPR training she had last year, or that she’ll have a story to tell at the training she is scheduled to attend next month. Nor did she reflect that she did eight cycles of 30 compressions at a time. What she realized was CPR not only impacts the life of the individual but also the family when efforts are done to save a life.
“When I got in my car, I just flopped down in my seat,” she said. “It was the worst possible conditions to be in: Rain, cold, uneven concrete, wet and muddy. I didn’t realize I was cold or that my knees were hurting from being on the concrete. I don’t know why I stopped. A moment stands behind your training and a life.
“I was thinking this is somebody’s husband, dad, or granddad. I would hope someone would do the same for me. I never thought about quitting. You always find the strength when you need it most. I said a prayer for him and his family. I feel truly grateful that I was trained and well prepared to do what I could to try to help save a life.”
William Lassiter, deputy secretary for Juvenile Justice, said he’s proud to have Jordan as part of the JJ and DPS “team.”
“Tangi is known as a leader who cares deeply for her staff and the youth she serves at Lenoir Youth Development Center,” Lassiter said. “But, on Thursday (Feb. 18), she demonstrated the true meaning of a servant leader – someone who is willing to give of themselves for the betterment of the people around her.”