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Milton Hershey School student, campus safety officer save life

School’s curriculum, internship program prepared teen to properly react in critical moment

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Milton Hershey School Campus Safety Director Rick Gilbert, left, presents lifesaving commendations to Student Intern Marilyn Purcell, center, and Officer Taylor Heisey.

Milton Hershey School

Content provided by Milton Hershey School

A man is alive today thanks to the quick and professional actions of a Milton Hershey School student and campus safety officer.

An avid cyclist was biking through the MHS campus in mid-May when he got dizzy and lost his vision. He pulled over, sat under a tree, and waved for help. Student Intern Marilyn Purcell was riding along with Campus Safety Officer Taylor Heisey when she noticed the man and alerted Heisey. He stopped, called 911, and cared for him until paramedics arrived. Medical personnel did not mince words – if the cyclist had waited any longer for help, he would not have lived to thank those who came to his aid.

For Purcell and Heisey, the response was simply putting their training into action.

“It was just a regular day of doing my job of watching campus to see what is going on,” Purcell, a member of the MHS Class of 2024, said.

The man wrote a letter to Campus Safety Director Rick Gilbert expressing his appreciation to everyone at MHS who helped save his life. Gilbert presented Marilyn and Heisey with commendations for their actions, an honor that is rarely awarded.

“This would be a memorial service, not a commendation ceremony, if it were not for that young lady,” the man said after meeting his lifesavers.

MHS campus safety officers take pride in providing around-the-clock patrols, campus monitoring, and emergency planning. MHS is the only pre-K through 12th-grade residential school with dual accreditation status from the Commission on Accreditation for the Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

Additionally, Campus Safety Supervisor Patrick McKenna knew the man had someone at home who would be waiting for him to return from his ride. After unsuccessful attempts to call his wife, McKenna drove to their home to share the news and return his bicycle.

For Heisey, the opportunity to connect with MHS students like Marilyn makes his job as a campus safety officer special. MHS students can participate in real-life, hands-on internship experiences. The internships match each student’s chosen career pathway in the school’s award-winning Career and Technical Education program. Through the program, students also learn employability skills, like teamwork, time management, and organization.

Milton Hershey School is a top-tier school for qualifying students in pre-K through 12th grade. The school covers all costs for all students who attend.