The Christmas angel story: Associate to the rescue
Walmart associate, Russ Tombs, is a hometown hero for stepping in to save the life of a woman who had collapsed in the parking lot of our Leamington store. The soft-spoken, 52-year old maintenance worker received both the Canadian Red Cross Rescuer Award and a Walmart Shining Star in recognition for his first aid heroics.
On a morning three days before Christmas 2011, Russ Tombs was outside rounding up shopping carts left by customers during the seasonal Christmas rush.
Seeing a commotion near a parked car, Russ thought someone was getting robbed and rushed to help. Instead he found a woman lying on the ground, foaming at the mouth and clearly in distress. Immediately, Russ asked if she was choking to which she nodded. Moving quickly, he sat the woman up and delivered the Heimlich maneuver repeatedly until her throat cleared and she could breathe again.
Local hero makes good
He later recalled, “I was so relieved she was okay,” and credits his childhood Boy Scout training for knowing exactly what to do. The woman whose life he saved calls Russ her “Christmas angel.” Walmart store manager Robin Demers, simply called him “a hero”.
In January, Maureen O’Neal, regional manager with the Red Cross, presented Russ Tombs with the Canadian Red Cross Rescuer Award, which recognizes the efforts of non-professional rescuers and off-duty responders each year. She noted that ambulances can take an average of 8 to 12 minutes to arrive so that first-aid responders like Russ can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency.
His store manager also nominated Russ for a Shining Star, which has led to further honours as he attended the annual Walmart Canada Year Beginning Meeting in his new role as Shining Star for his region. In helping to save the life of a customer, Russ Tombs went above and beyond on our promise to ‘Save money. Live better’.