Herb Lommen is not only saving lives by teaching CPR in Oregon and keeping kids healthy with physical education, but he’s a passionate advocate helping support the mission of the American Heart Association time and time again. Herb is the Department Chair of Health and Physical Education at Valley Catholic Middle School. He is also a First Aid, CPR/AED Training Coordinator.
Herb and the Valley Catholic Middle School students have been wonderful partners as we work to teach CPR to all Oregonians. You can watch a video about Herb and his students advocating at AHA’s Oregon Lobby Day last year here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAFWdZUYL20
In his 39th year of teaching HS and MS students Health and Physical Education, he has also taught Outdoor Education classes and coached during those years. We wanted to share Herb’s story and words of wisdom with you:
- What motivates you to do what you do? (Coaching and CPR)
“My motivation for teaching comes from my life experiences and having good role models to follow. I have the opportunity to work with young people and help shape their lives as they grow into young adults. Teaching them they can make a difference in the world by helping others and being the best they can be.”
- Are there any stories from your experience teaching (particular students or circumstances) that are particularly meaningful or interesting?
“The best part of teaching is when students come back after many years and tell you of their successes. For example, how they have been able to use the skills that I had taught them to help others or that the career path they chose was started by interest from what they had learned. One recent student shared with me that he was able to save a life in an accident recently. He said his CPR just came back and he did it without thinking. We talked about how his learning had made a difference in someone’s life and we were all proud of his actions.”
- If you could share one piece of advice with other teachers who are considering teaching PE and/or CPR, what would it be?
“Be a teacher (in a classroom or a First Aid/CPR class) and you can make a difference in people’s lives. You can give them the skills to help others and be the best they can be. It is a great feeling to know that you did make a difference in the world.”
- Has heart disease or stroke touched your life in any way?
“Seven years ago I almost died from congestive heart failure caused by a virus that entered my heart. The doctors said the only reason I survived was because I was in such good physical shape. It has changed my life as I cannot do all the things I used to quite as fast. I have had to learn to slow down a little. It has been a great teaching moment as all the students know what happened to me and how important it is to keep fit, eat right, and take care of yourself. The students see my compassion for taking care of your body and learning life-saving skills as one day it might save you or someone else.”