Meet AHA Advocate, JR Dietl
What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?
In 1969 my father suffered a cardiac arrest and nobody was able to perform CPR on him. I was devastated. After becoming an EMT/Paramedic in Iowa I wanted to help so that other kids my age at the time would not have to go through what I did. I found out about the American Heart Association and I was hooked! I couldn’t wait to get involved! I started working with the American Heart Association in Iowa in 1977 as an EMT/Paramedic. I then transferred to American Heart Association in Tulsa Oklahoma by teaching, advocating as well as being hired by the AHA to repair the CPR equipment belonging to the American Heart Association. In 2001 I continued my association with them when I moved to Illinois, where I worked with the Lt. Governors committee to help pass legislation on requiring AED's and CPR in Schools and Health facilities in the state of Illinois. I worked for several years representing AHA at the Illinois State Fair in promoting CPR and AED's in the Lt. Governor's booth. In 2004 I started a Training Center in Illinois and have over 525 Instructors teaching Basic Life Support in schools and organizations in a multi-state region. Today I currently serve on the Illinois Advocacy Committee along with a few other AHA committees
What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?
My most passionate issue is getting awareness out about how easy it is to perform CPR and use an AED and make people generally aware of that. I currently believe that CPR should be taught in the schools just like reading and writing. I truly believe that most people are unaware of how many heart attacks or cardiac arrest truly occur in the United States and how important it is to get basic life support started before professional help can respond.
What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?
Being asked by Mark Peysakhovich if I would like to serve on the Illinois Advocacy Committee. I really believe that people that serve on this committee come from a wide range of experience and are able to offer good recommendation’s on various topics that will make a difference in the lives of Illinoisan’s. I also found a great experience this last summer when the committee met in Springfield for a two day seminar that generated a tremendous amount of positive results
What is your favorite way to be active?
Being at public events raising awareness on AHA topics or meeting with state legislators and educating them to see the priorities that AHA advocates for.
What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?
Strawberries’ and Asparagus