Campground Heroes

Every year at Signal Mountain Lodge we see a new crowd of faces, as well as some returning ones, that come to work with us for the season. All our employees receive training to be prepared for any situation that may arise, and luckily, that training has paid off.

On Tuesday, May 23rd, our Campground Manager, Hunter Woods, and Operations Manager, Billy Madej, were going about the day as usual in managing the grounds when a camper came to them reporting that another camper in the area needed help after collapsing to the ground. With his Wilderness First Aid training, Woods made his way to the ailing camper with Madej by his side. Madej is FA/CPR certified and immediately retrieved the mouth barrier and AED after telling the Signal Mountain front desk to call 911. Additionally, our Maintenance Manager, Danny Cornell heard the radio to the front desk to call 911 and made his way to the campsite to aid with his own FA/CPR certification and training on hand to assist.

Once Woods arrived at the site, he found the camper unconscious and on the ground. He wasn’t breathing nor did he have a pulse and his skin had started to turn blue. Woods maneuvered the camper on his back and began performing chest compressions. Shortly after, Madej arrived took over chest compressions while Woods utilized the mouth barrier to provide the camper a series of breaths. Once Cornell arrived with the AED, Woods attached the unit to the camper and provided a shock to try and restart his heart. The camper was still not breathing so Cornell and Madej continued providing compressions and breaths until emergency help arrived.

After 20 minutes EMTs and Law Enforcement arrived and took over the scene. Soon after, they finally found a pulse and the camper began breathing sporadically. The EMTs hooked him up to oxygen and administer medication that would sustain the camper during transport. The camper was transported to the Lupin Meadows trailhead and then taken by helicopter to Idaho Falls, 130 miles away. As of June 1st, the team at Signal Mountain learned the camper was reported to be out of ICU and was walking and eating on his own. His camping partner reported he had a heart attack.

Anything can happen while camping in the park and we are so grateful that Woods, Madej, and Cornell were all on hand with their years of training to save this man’s life before it was too late. We are currently working with Grand Teton National Park EMTs to find a way to reward these employees for their quick thinking and heroism in what could have been a tragic situation. We’re happy to say that all of our guests are in safe hands no matter whether they are staying at the lodge or in the campground.

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