‘Candle lady’ saves day | SierraSun.com

‘Candle lady’ saves day

Photo by Katherine MorrisBreezy Lopez and Penny Rosenow saved the day

Local candle lady saves the day?

While it may not seem like the theme for the next big action flick, this unlikely Truckee hero proved last week that she knows far more than just the ins and outs of wicks and wax.

Last Wednesday, Penny Rosenow, an employee of Tahoe Candle on Commercial Row, used the CPR skills she’d acquired after 31 years as a flight attendant to save the life of a customer in distress.

“It’s funny,” she says. “I never thought that the first time I’d use my training would be on the ground, especially at the candle shop. I was taught to do this stuff in the air.”

The incident occurred shortly after 11 a.m. on August 14, when an elderly customer visiting the area from Pennsylvania was exiting the store.

“I was in the back of the store, when I heard a commotion out front,” Rosenow said. “Suddenly a man ran in and said that he needed me to call 911 for an ambulance, so I did.” As she was on the line with the dispatcher, Rosenow asked what the problem was and was told that the same elderly woman who’d just left the store was outside unconscious and in need of CPR.

“There was quite a crowd that had gathered around, but no one knew CPR, so without thinking I slammed the phone down and ran outside,” she said. “Later, I felt bad for hanging up on 911. I almost called back to apologize, but what could I do?”

When she arrived at the victim’s side, the woman had turned several shades of blue and purple, was unresponsive, and lacked a pulse.

“First, I grabbed Breezy Lopez, the girl who works next door at the T-shirt shop, to help me by doing compressions because there was no way I was going to be able to do all of this alone,” she said.

Not long after the pair began working on the woman, she regained consciousness and became ill.

“I never thought I’d be that happy to see someone throw up,” she said with a laugh. “But it was a sign for me that she was going to be okay, she wasn’t going to die. It was such an incredible experience. I felt like I was moving in slow motion the whole time everything was happening.”

Days after the incident, witnesses continue to remark how calmly and capably Rosenow handled the situation.

“She reacted so wonderfully, I couldn’t believe it,” said Tracy Heinrich, owner of Tahoe Candle. “I think this is so great that a local woman was able to save the day like this. What she did was phenomenal.”

Although the exact cause of the victim’s distress is still unknown, she remains in good condition and high spirits at Tahoe Forest Hospital, according to Rosenow, who’s been paying her regular visits.

“It’s nice to have a happy ending,” she said. “I just wish this incident would encourage more of the local merchants to learn CPR, especially given the number of elderly visitors that we get to the area. Really, it doesn’t take a lot to learn.”

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