Saving lives

Chelsey Chaplain’s campaign to buy life-saving devices successful

BOB ROLLEY/THE EXPRESS Chelsey Chaplain, second from right, poses with her parents, from left, Robert and Charity Etters, and Sean Kleckner, a member of the Goodwill Hose Co. Ambulance Association’s advance life support team. The four attended a special presentation at a Kiwanis Club of Lock Haven meeting last fall on Chelsey’s successful campaign to raise money to buy automated external defibrillators for Keystone Central School District. The Kiwanis then donated toward the cause, as did many others.

MILL HALL — “I lost my grandfather due to a heart attack,” Chelsey Chaplain began, addressing the Keystone Central School Board on Thursday night.

She was referring to Thomas Walizer, whom she adored.

His passing compelled her to pay it forward and possibly save others from cardiac arrest.

“Three years ago, I started a project called Operation: Restart a Heart,” the Central Mountain High School senior continued.

A culmination of her time at Central Mountain, her project successfully raised more than $9,000 for the purchase of six AED or automated external defibrillators and donating them to the district.

“These machines will shock your heart to save your life,” Chaplain told the board.

Her fundraisers have included a Sip and Dip, selling American Heart Association hearts, and raffling a “Lottery Tree” decorated with lottery tickets during a bingo night sponsored by Flemington Goodwill Ambulance Association.

She raffled another Lottery Tree at another Goodwill Ambulance event, a “Primitive Bingo” featuring primitive furniture and decorative items as prizes.

Goodwill Ambulance helped with her project.

She sent letters asking for donations and worked on a school bulletin with cardiac arrest tips and other information to raise awareness.

AEDs cost about $1,500 each.

Chaplain was given a slight deal on the machines due to her cause, which resulted in her having some money left over even after buying the six machines.

“I will be donating the remaining money to the athletic department,” she said, referencing a soccer coach whom she wryly said would frequently tell her to “use her inside voice” as she would get “a bit excited” while achieving success after success on her mission.

Flemington’s Goodwill Hose Co. expressed its willingness to offer free training to anyone in the district who wants to learn how to use the AED machines, Chaplain also confirmed.

The machines are dispersed to schools in the district, including one to be permanently stationed at Don Malinak Stadium, and two to the Bucktail school campus.

It’s all in tribute to a loving grandfather who Chelsey said meant the world to her.