Two women receive Champion of Character award after saving Topeka stranger’s life

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Topeka Fire Chief, Craig Duke, presented the Safe Streets Coalition Champion of Character award to two local women who saved the life of a total stranger.

Jessica Jones and Rena Bloomberg, the nominees, didn’t know each other until they saved the life of a Topeka woman, Terri Dodd, in the middle of a Five Below store in December 2020. Dodd had gone into cardiac arrest, so both Jones and Bloomberg jumped into action.

“We were just shopping and we kind of heard a commotion,” Jones said. “I didn’t think anything of it. It kind of sounded like somebody had knocked over some merchandise or something.”

Jones has a background in CPR, which is why she instantly began giving Dodd chest compressions. Bloomberg then joined in, giving the rescue breaths. Together, they saved Dodd’s life.

“I knew exactly what to do in that situation,” said Jones. “And I got her on her back and got her flat and started compressions. A store clerk was on the phone with 911.”

On Wednesday, the three women were reunited for the first time since the accident for the Champion of Character award. They are now much more than acquaintances.

“It is just a feeling of, ‘Okay what should I do now that I’ve been given a second chance?'” Dodd said. “How should I use this time that I have? And just eternal gratitude and a connection to these ladies.”

Jones and Bloomberg were given a certificate for their heroic actions. But for them, the biggest honor was being reunited with each other. They even have matching necklaces to keep them connected.

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