Beech Valley Baptist Church chosen to participate in Strive to Revive Program
by Sherrie Norris
He has recently taken his compassion to another level to include their physical, as well as their spiritual condition.
As a bivocational pastor also employed at Samaritan's Purse in Boone and a certified EMT and American Heart Association instructor, Cole announces that his church has been selected as one of more than 200 places of worship across the state to participate in a relatively new lifesaving program called Strive to Revive.
The program aims to reduce deaths related to cardiovascular disease by providing automatic external defibrillators and CPR training to places of worship across North Carolina.
"Our congregation is committed to protecting the health of our members, and Strive to Revive helps us take this commitment to the next level," Cole said. "With an average of 60 people attending our church each week, we have the potential to save lives, both spiritually and physically, and to make a real difference in our community."
Because of the church's location, with about a 25 minute drive from the emergency medical services base in Boone, or about 30 minutes from the closest EMS base in Avery County, Cole said there will always be an extended response time for an ambulance.
Part of the stipulation for the church's inclusion in the program was that Red Cross adult CPR and AED training be provided.
"That's not a problem for us at all," Cole said. "We have a dozen people in our church already trained to use the device, and we are going to take it a step further. We will be training the congregation to perform CPR on not only adults, but also on children and infants, as well as training them to perform the Heimlich maneuver for someone choking.
Having the AED -- and the proper training to go with it -- will mean those who need the help will get it immediately," Cole said. "If you are able to shock someone within seven minutes of them going in to cardiac arrest, they have an 80 percent chance of survival," he said.
Along with the AED, a wall-mounted cabinet in which to store the device was also provided by program sponsors.
Strive to Revive kicked off in Charlotte in 2010 when an initial 20 organizations were awarded AEDs and CPR training.
The program is made possible through a partnership of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the N.C. Council of Churches, the American Red Cross and Rep. Becky Carney, all of which are committed to expanding the program statewide.
Through Strive to Revive, AEDs will be distributed and CPR training will be provided to places of worship across the state -- with the goal of reaching all 100 counties.
"Imagine how scary it would be to stand by and watch a loved one go into cardiac arrest because you didn't know CPR," said Brad Wilson, BCBSNC president and CEO. "We want North Carolinians to feel prepared to react in a situation like this. Strive to Revive gives our communities the tools and training they need to take action in case of a cardiac emergency."
According to statistics, sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., claiming up to 450,000 lives each year.
Strive to Revive focuses on organizations that attract large populations of individuals affected by heart disease, cardiac arrest and other health risk factors, including African-Americans, Latinos, women and seniors.
Keeping in line with his pastoral calling, Cole said, "If we look at our own lives, we can see how sick our hearts are from the sin of this world, and how we can fix it with a little spiritual CPR: Confess, Pray and Read. Once we have taken the time to do this, the Holy Spirit will shock your heart back in to rhythm."
To learn more about Strive to Revive, visit http://www.healthandwholeness.org/strive-to-revive.
To learn more about Beech Creek Baptist Church, visit, http://www.beechvalleychurch.org.
Service times are: Sunday school at 10 a.m., followed by worship at 11 a.m. Wednesday evening services begin at 7.
The church is located at 3665 Buckeye Road, Sugar Grove.
N.C. Council of Churches
Founded in 1935, the N.C. Council of Churches is a statewide organization representing 18 Christian denominations and committed to the twin goals of ecumenism and social justice. More than 1.5 million North Carolinians are members of congregations under the council's umbrella.
The council's faith-based health initiative, Partners in Health and Wholeness, is designed to promote health as a faith issue and to improve the health of clergy and congregants through increased physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco use prevention and cessation. To learn more about Partners in Health and Wholeness, visit healthandwholeness.org. More information about the N.C. Council of Churches is available at ncchurches.org.