Janice Bittenbender honored with Life Saving Award

(From left) Janice Bittenbender is presented with a Life Saving Award by Big Rapids Department of Public Safety officers Andre Torres and Chad Kinsey. Bittenbender was honored for performing CPR on an unresponsive young girl while working as a driver for Dial-A-Ride Transportation. (Pioneer photos/Taylor Fussman)

BIG RAPIDS — Janice Bittenbender humbly credits her life-saving actions earlier this month to the training she has received throughout her career.

Bittenbender was honored Monday evening during the Big Rapids City Commission meeting for saving the life of a young girl named Summer while on duty as a Dial-A-Ride Transportation bus driver.

She was given the Life Saving Award for her actions on March 1, when she performed four to five cycles of CPR on a girl who was found to be limp and unresponsive on a DART bus.

Bittenbender said after initially being advised by a young boy leaving the bus that a girl was still asleep in her seat, she thought the girl may be playing around. However, she quickly realized this was not the case after checking for signs of breathing and hearing the girl exhale.

Upon failing to find a pulse, Bittenbender then instructed another passenger to use the bus radio to call for assistance and began performing CPR.

“When I heard her exhale, I just went into another mode,” she said. “The training just came right back.”

Members of the Big Rapids City Commission gave Janice Bittenbender a standing ovation Monday evening as she was presented with a Life Saving Award for her actions and quick response in an emergency situation earlier this month.

Big Rapids Department of Public Safety Officer Andre Torres said he recommended Bittenbender for the Life Saving Award because as a CPR instructor himself, he believed she deserved to be recognized.

Bittenbender said at first she did not want to be acknowledged for her actions, but decided to accept the award in the hopes it would encourage others to receive CPR training.

“I think any drivers trained in CPR would have done the same thing,” she said. “I’m just happy the girl is okay. That’s what matters.”

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Posted by Taylor Fussman

Taylor is the city/county reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review newspapers. She can be reached at (231) 592-8362 or by email at tfussman@pioneergroup.com.

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