By Deb Silverthorn
The Talmud says “to save a life is to save the world,” and that is just what Robyn Rovinsky Mirsky does with each student to whom she teaches lifesaving measures. From preschoolers to seniors around the community — individuals, volunteers and professionals — Mirsky’s hands and heart teach others to be ready to save lives.
“What I teach is something I hope no one will ever have to use. But being able to help someone breathe who hasn’t, or to relieve them from choking, or whatever the emergency, it’s very important and so much easier than people think,” said Mirsky, who has been teaching lifesaving techniques for eight years. “When you are the one to save a life — it’s almost indescribable, but it’s amazing.”
Mirsky’s students come from throughout the community; she has taught preschool students about dialing 911 and the basics of CPR, as well as families preparing for the next generation, staffers in medical offices, educational faculty support in schools and more.
“I wanted to be a good ‘bubbe,’ and that came with responsibility. We all needed to be ready,” said Terri Schepps, who brought Mirsky to a family lesson when awaiting the arrival of her first granddaughter. Lena, now 16 months old, was the impetus, but the whole family realized the value in knowing the techniques at any time.
“Between us, there were those who had no clue about how to react in a crisis and others who needed to be recertified,” Schepps said. “And Robyn, through a wonderful family afternoon, was able to support us by providing the tools and the confidence, should an emergency arise.”
For pediatric opthalmologist Zev Shulkin, being licensed isn’t an option for his employees, and he has retained Mirsky to train his staff. Shulkin has known Mirsky for most of his life, with both families ensconced at Tiferet Israel, and the two are medical support partners at many events in the community. It is she that he trusts in handing the teacher reins.
“Robyn is extremely patient, an outstanding teacher and proficient in her skill set,” Shulkin said. “She made the somewhat banal training interesting and fun, and I would strongly recommend her. It’s something we did to stay up to date, and she was very helpful.”
The daughter of Erv and Shirley Rovinsky, sister of Rabbi Michael Rovinsky and mother to Josh and Mollie, Mirsky is a Dallas native. A graduate of Akiba Academy and Richardson High School, Mirsky is a former BBYO Sablosky chapter member and officer.
She is a lifetime member of Hadassah and previously worked as a cosmetologist and in sales and marketing for Garrett Creek Ranch.
In 2005, after witnessing a young athlete go down during a basketball game with no defibrillator on-site, Mirsky enrolled in EMT school the next day. After years of working with Medical City and CareFlite, constantly inspired by the adrenaline and the patients she served, Mirsky refused to drop out of health care after suffering a significant injury during an accident in which she was thrown from an ambulance.
Finding another way to make a difference, she became certified by the American Heart Association. In teaching others how to be prepared, she is the link to saving lives of those she’ll never even meet.
Mirsky, who has been a member of the Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off committee since it began, is on the medical team of Dallas Maccabi, JCC Senior Expos and, beginning last year, a support for mourners with the Chevra Kadisha at Tiferet Israel.
“Keeping close to those who have passed is a mitzvah that can’t be returned, and it’s something I never imagined connecting to, but now I can’t imagine not doing. It is all about care.”
Mirsky’s curriculum includes basic first aid, what to do in the event of a shooting, puncture or water accident; how to handle choking; and even resuscitation of animals.
Whether it’s to the staff of the Key Whitman Eye Center, at gun clubs teaching how to handle an accidental shooting, or at the Akiba Academy or Chabad of Plano’s Gan Gani preschools, Mirsky brings it all and lays it out for her students.
“Robyn is a great instructor and while it’s a serious subject she makes it fun and enjoyable,” said Gan Gani Director Rivkie Block. “She has a huge heart, and she was easily able to connect to our teachers, the teens and even our children. Each session has us walking away feeling confident, optimistic and, while we hope we never need to, feeling like we could help someone if the need arose.”
Most sessions last one to two hours, and Mirsky will travel to offices, organization headquarters and homes. She brings all necessary materials and provides certification for those requiring it at the end of the class.
“I love the adrenaline that this career path has brought me,” Mirsky said, “and I love sharing the information so that anyone, literally, can save a life.”
Classes begin at $55/person, and group rates are available. For more information or to schedule classes, email firstname.lastname@example.org.