Red Cross honors ASU student

for saving classmate’s life

BOONE — An Appalachian State University student’s action performing CPR on an unresponsive classmate this February has earned her the American Red Cross’ highest award, the Certificate of Merit.

Amanda Buffa, a senior special education major from New Bern, received the award during a ceremony Nov. 12 in the Plemmons Student Union Solarium on campus.

Leroy Wright, associate vice chancellor for Appalachian’s Division of Student Affairs, welcomed a group of around 50 attendees. He said to Buffa, “You definitely embody the words and the core mission of the American Red Cross as a humble and selfless leader.”

“This recognition is a big deal,” said Joe Carter, director of University Recreation. “Very few individuals receive this honor.”

American Red Cross representative Neal Homer said only 100 certificates are awarded annually to an individual or a team of individuals who have taken Red Cross training and voluntarily helped to save or sustain a life. The certificate is signed by the President of the United States, who is the honorary chairman of the American Red Cross, and Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, chair of the American Red Cross.

For Buffa, Feb. 18 was an ordinary day of class in Appalachian’s Reich College of Education building. “We were in class, getting ready to take notes,” she remembered.

“All of the sudden, behind me, there was a clatter, and everyone in the class gasped,” she said. “I turned around and my classmate was on the ground. I got up, went to him and checked him, checked for a pulse.”

Buffa determined he didn’t have a pulse and was unresponsive. Some of her classmates called 911 and alerted university staff, while she starting performing CPR on the collapsed classmate.

“I did CPR for about five minutes,” she said. “I got his pulse to come back and stayed with him, continuing to monitor his pulse until EMS (emergency medical services) got there.”

At the time of the incident, Buffa had been a Red Cross-certified lifeguard for three years and worked as a lifeguard in University Recreation. It was through that program that she learned CPR, had been recertified and continued to complete monthly training.

The action Buffa took in class was the first time she had to actually perform CPR.

“We train and do it so often that I think I just kind of jumped into knowing what to do,” Buffa said. “It was like I was doing the training.”

At the ceremony, Buffa’s classmate, Chelsea Beamer, a senior special education major from King, who was witness to the incident, commended Buffa for her quick action. Beamer said, as a trained CPR administer, Buffa had “acted quickly and professionally.” If not for her actions, Beamer said, she did not think the student would be alive today.

Frank and Kay Golf Classic raises $10,256 for Hospitality House

BOONE — The Oct. 8 Frank and Kay Golf Classic at Hound Ears Club raised $10,256 for the Hospitality House Endowment, the homeless shelter and crisis organization announced on its Facebook page.

The organization’s annual golf tournament was renamed to honor the legacy of philanthropy and leadership that Frank and Kay Borkowski have bestowed upon the High Country since their arrival in 1993, Hospitality House said.

Hospitality House is a regional nonprofit transitional living facility and crisis assistance resource center serving the seven North Carolina counties – Watauga, Wilkes, Ashe, Avery, Alleghany, Mitchell and Yancey – that make up the High Country. They provide housing, hunger relief, counseling and critical services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness and poverty-related crises.

To learn more about Hospitality House, visit them online at

Send announcements of achievements, milestones and other life news to

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.