Nadia Campbell & Mary McKimmon
Between juggling a full-time job, attending Triton College and being a single mother of two daughters, Nadia Campbell ( pictured left, with daughter Kaylee) is used to a hectic lifestyle. Perhaps that’s why she was able to remain calm and focused in the face of a tragedy that is unimaginable for many people.
On Nov. 19 2018, Campbell, a student in Triton’s Nuclear Medicine Technology Program, had just finished her clinical assignment shift at Mercy Hospital in Chicago when she saw a rush of people running from the emergency room toward the main lobby. A person had been shot in the parking lot and it was uncertain whether the shooter had entered the hospital. Campbell’s first instinct was to run for safety, but something inside her told her to stop.
“There were four or five people in wheelchairs in the main lobby so we (Campbell and co-workers) grabbed those people in the wheelchairs and started putting them in a room that was off to the side of the main lobby,” she recalled.
The shooter had entered the hospital and three innocent people lost their lives that day, along with the suspected shooter. Thankfully, he never made it to the area where Campbell and the patients she helped were waiting.
Only a few yards away, Mary McKimmon (pictured right, with son Jacob), a student in Triton’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program, had a similar experience. She was also on clinical assignment at Mercy, when she and a co-worker began hearing gunshots. After locking and pushing cabinets in front of the door to her department, she calmly informed hospital staff and a patient in an adjacent room of what was happening.
McKimmon and the others huddled in the locked room for what she estimates was about 20 minutes.
“The shots kept ringing out. It seemed like they were in front of us, then behind us,” McKimmon said. “So we just kind of stayed there with the doors locked. I tried to keep everyone calm.”
Campbell and McKimmon were recognized for their professionalism and bravery by the Triton College Board of Trustees during its December 2018 monthly meeting.