October 30, 2019 started out like any other ordinary Wednesday at the Southside location of Horizon Education Centers, with the children enjoying time in the gym during the late morning. Shortly before 11 a.m., a child complained about having a stomachache. One of the teachers figured she needed to use the restroom, which would often be the underlying reason for a tummy ache — and it still seemed as though gym time would then go on as normal.

Soon, though, the child was lying on the gym floor in a fetal position. Gloria Tirado, a Horizon teacher, thought back to other times when this particular little girl played a sleeping game — meaning, she would pretend to be asleep, even when she wasn’t.

Gloria smiled and walked over to her, ready to play the game. The girl was playing it quite well this time, not moving at all.

Gloria called out the girl’s name. No movement. No giggles. That was strange.

Next, she gently patted the girl’s face and when there was no response, Gloria quickly realized this wasn’t the fun game they’d enjoyed together in the past — and she immediately switched into her Red Cross training mode, going through the key steps.

Gloria moved the little girl’s shoulders back and forth and loudly said her name. No response.

She checked for breathing. None could be detected.

She called out to Carrie Sokol, the business coordinator for the center. Carrie called 911.

What Came Next

Fortunately, Carrie is also Red Cross CPR-trained. After she called 911, she hurried into the gym to check the girl’s pulse.


Carrie immediately began giving chest compressions, with Gloria taking over when Carrie needed to talk to the 911 response team. Together, they tag-teamed the compressions while they waited for the paramedics to arrive. It seemed like forever, but they kept going.

Suddenly, like a miracle, Gloria felt the girl’s pulse return and then the child began to breathe on her own. Following her Red Cross training, she stopped the compressions.

Paramedics on the phone advised them to tilt the young child’s head back and observe her carefully until they arrived. When the ambulance came, the paramedics took the child to the hospital. Because Carrie was the business coordinator at the Southside location of Horizon Education Centers, she was not directly responsible for any of the children, so she followed the ambulance in her car and she waited until the child’s mother arrived.

Fast Forward to Now

If you could see gym time at the center, you’d see a child who completely recovered and is running around the gym, being her typically silly self. As for the family, they are grateful to the entire staff at Southside Horizon and how they handled the crisis, especially Gloria and Carrie.

These two ladies? They are truly heroes!

And, on December 15, 2019, they were awarded the Horizon Hero Award—a very well-deserved honor!

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