(EFFINGHAM, IL) – On Friday, February 15 at St. Anthony High School’s basketball game during Senior Night, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital donated two Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to St. Anthony High School to assist them in emergency preparedness. In addition, Community Programs instructors from the hospital are providing faculty with training on CPR and how to use the AED. 
An AED is a portable defibrillator designed to be automated such that it can be used by those without substantial medical training who are responding to a cardiac emergency. The defibrillator delivers a brief electroshock to the heart through electrodes (pads) placed on the chest. With the AED, it can check a person’s heart rhythm through the pads, recognize a rhythm that requires a shock, and advise the rescuer when a shock is needed, using clear and concise voice prompts on placing the pads and when to step away before the shock is delivered.
Athletic Director for St. Anthony Schools and Assistant High School Principal Kevin Palmer shared why having these additional AEDs is so important to St. Anthony Schools. “While we have AEDs at our schools, we did not have one available for our park facilities or for our road games and activities.  A critical situation can happen at any time or place, so having these AEDs nearby gives us an extra level of emergency preparation. We are grateful to HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital for partnering with this to provide the AEDs and training of our staff.”
The timing of the donation also coincides with a historical celebration that ties the two organizations together. HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital’s foundation began 175 years ago this year, in Telgte, Germany, a village outside the city of Muenster, Westphalia. At the pilgrim Shrine of Our Lady of Grace Chapel, a small number of women made a religious commitment, becoming the first Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis, a religious Order founded by Father Christopher Bernsmeyer, OFM.  The Order’s expressed purpose was to take care of the sick poor in their homes in rural areas.  In 1875, they welcomed an invitation from Bishop Peter Baltes of Alton, Illinois, to bring their health care services to his Diocese. Twenty Sisters boarded the S.S. Maas for a three-week journey and arrived in New York on November 3, 1875.  The Sisters then traveled from Alton to be missioned to different areas. The reason HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital is in Effingham today is because Father Weis, pastor of St. Anthony’s Parish, invited the Sisters to come to Effingham, and three Sisters arrived here on November 15, 1875.  When the first hospital opened on September 15, 1877, it was named “St. Anthony Hospital” after the parish that so generously welcomed them.
St. Anthony Schools are also celebrating an anniversary – 150 years of Catholic Education and Formation.  St. Anthony’s rich tradition of Catholic education began in 1869 with the Franciscan Sisters from Joliet.  They moved to Effingham and taught for two years in a six-room schoolhouse.  In 1874, the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) arrived to lead the education and religious formation for the youth of the parish and remained dedicated to this vocation for more than 130 years.  The growth of St. Anthony’s education system continued in 1912 with the offering of freshman and sophomore level classes.  St. Anthony High School recognized its first class of high school graduates in 1927.  Today, St. Anthony Schools are the only parish-supported preschool through grade 12 Catholic school system in downstate Illinois, led by lay faculty under the guidance of the parish pastor, and educate an average of more than 550 students annually.
HSHS St. Anthony’s Chief Nursing Officer Kelly Sager shared, “We are following in the footsteps of our Hospital Sisters who began this ministry 175 years ago and who arrived to Effingham in 1875, thanks to the kind invitation of Father Weis of St. Anthony Parish. Our commitment to our community has endured for over a century, and we are proud to continue serving the residents of this area, thanks to our dedicated colleagues and Medical Staff.  By partnering with local organizations and schools like St. Anthony High School, we are able to extend our ministry outside our walls to ensure we are providing the best possible care where it is needed,” she said.
This is the sixth organization to which St. Anthony’s has donated AEDs. Previous to this donation, the hospital also donated AEDs and provided training to the Effingham Performance Center, the Grove Township Community Center, the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Complex, and the Effingham County Fairgrounds, and also donated an AED recently to the Effingham Child Development Center.
Photo: On Friday, February 15 at St. Anthony High School basketball game during Senior Night, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital donated two Automated External Defibrillators (AED) to St. Anthony High School to assist them in emergency preparedness. The donation event celebrated the historical connection between the two organizations – In 1875, Father Weis, pastor of St. Anthony’s Parish, first invited the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis to come to Effingham to provide health care, and the Hospital Sisters named their first hospital built in 1877, “St. Anthony Hospital,” after the parish that so generously welcomed them. Shown, left to right: Katie Kabbes and Ben Strullmyer, St. Anthony High School athletes and student council officers; Kevin Palmer, athletic director for St. Anthony Schools and assistant high school principal; Patrick Wood, certified athletic trainer, HSHS Athletes Advantage; Kelly Sager, HSHS St. Anthony’s chief nursing officer; and Rebecca Niebrugge, accounting and community benefits manager.

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HSHS Illinois
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