Bio Box An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can potentially stop an irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. Brain death begins at just six minutes and therefore a combination of AED and CPR can fill the gap until EMS personnel arrive. Applying an AED to a victim in cardiac arrest can triple their chances of survival.

CENTREVILLE — In pursuit of the Gold Award, the highest rank in Girl Scouting, Caroline Hazuda, a senior at Queen Anne’s County High School, took on the task of raising funds and community awareness to install two automated external defibrillators in the northern end of the county.

Caroline is the daughter of Kim and Scott Hazuda of Centreville.

An Ambassador Girl Scout in Centreville Troop 1335, Caroline has achieved the highest level in Scouts, and this project is the culmination of her years in the program. She joined Girl Scouts as a kindergartener and is completing this final chapter under the direction of her troop leader and mother, Kim Hazuda.

As a Gold Award candidate, Caroline had to complete an individual service project to benefit the community. Naming her project “The Centreville Heartbeat Initiative,” Caroline raised funds for the purchase and installation of two AEDs at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and White Marsh Park. The units cost approximately $1,000 each.

In choosing her locations to install the devices, Caroline identified St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, as it hosts 30 secular groups in its building per month and has a vibrant congregation, she said. White Marsh Park has baseball, lacrosse and soccer fields. Tournaments and recreational games are hosted here year-round, she said, and children, parents, and grand-parents attend those events.

Citing the American Heart Association, “AEDs also should be placed in public areas such as sports venues, shopping malls, airports, airplanes, businesses, convention centers, hotels, schools and doctors’ offices. They should also be in any other public or private place where large numbers of people gather or where people at high risk for heart attacks live,” she said.

Caroline said she recalled learning her grandfather was revived from a heart attack nearly 30 years ago with technology similar to an AED and she wanted to make these devices accessible to others should they be needed.

The service project also required an educational component, she said, and so she held a friends and family CPR workshop that included the church family at St. Paul’s and invited referees and coaches from the Queen Anne’s Park and Recreation Association.

Caroline’s project advisor was Lori Morris, assistant chief of special operations with the Queen Anne’s Department of Emergency Services. She also partnered with owner of Keep the Beat, Kevin Brenner, who supplied the units, and Nancy Scozzari, chief of parks environmental planning.

With the placement of the AED in the pavilion near the soccer fields, Brenner said, it could easily be reached in case of emergency, while someone else was calling for 911 — and perhaps even be used before emergency services can arrive.

All three were instrumental in helping her carry out her vision, said Caroline, who plans to attend Towson University in the fall as an early childhood education major. She has been completing her high school internships through the local elementary schools and is already passionate about her chosen field.

Caroline said she would like to thank the Centreville American Legion Jeff Davis Post 18 including the Ladies Auxiliary, Kent Island Elks Lodge, Teddy Bear Fresh Produce, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Centreville Food Lion, St. Michaels Graul’s Market, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church members, and numerous friends and family for their donations.

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