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By Stacy Drake
The hearts of a community
Penn Valley Area Chamber on a mission to save lives
The Penn Valley Area Chamber of Commerce is unique because its serves a vast and diverse rural area in western Nevada County. As a result, the Chamber acts not only as a promoter of business and events, but serves as a town hall where locals gather, gain knowledge and discuss issues that affect them and their community.

It also knows how to get to the heart of a matter.

The best example of that might be the life-saving training it holds at the Penn Valley Fire Department at 10513 Spenceville Road.

In California, the standard cost for the classes that teach students CPR and how to operate automated external defibrillators range from $50 to $85. In Penn Valley and thanks to the chamber, the cost is $25 for its members and $35 for non-members. The reduced price is due to the involvement of local businesses that sponsor the classes. Businesses also can send one employee or representative to a class at no charge for every $100 they spend on sponsorships. The classes are held every six to eight weeks throughout the year

The Penn Valley Area Chamber of Commerce earmarks proceeds from the classes to purchase the portable AED devices before distributing them to businesses and places where the public congregates. They hold a presentation event each time they purchase a new device, which the American Red Cross says saves an estimated 50,000 lives each year in the U.S. by delivering an electrical shock, known as defibrillation, which helps the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.

The Red Cross also believes that everyone should be within four minutes of an AED and someone trained to use it, which is what the chamber is working on in Penn Valley.

“The goal of the Chamber is to have as many people as possible in the Penn Valley area trained and certified in CPR and the use of AED devices,” said Mike Mastrodonoato, president of the Penn Valley Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are in a rural area and the training can mean all the difference to the patient and ultimately save lives. The program is a win-win for our businesses, community, first responders and beyond.”

The next class is scheduled to be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11. Those interested in attending must pre-register by Feb. 8. Class size is limited and certification will be mailed upon completion of the class. To register, call the chamber at 530-432-1802, e-mail info@pennvalleycoc.org or visit pennvalleycoc.org.

Penn Valley Chamber President Mike Mastrodonato (right) presents
a portable AED device to True Value Hardware owner Scott Gutierrez
for his store in Penn Valley at the Chamber’s 9th Annual Town Hall
meeting held on Jan. 17.
Penn Valley Fire Protection District Lieutenant/Paramedic Dennis
Bertolucci conducts a Penn Valley Area Chamber of Commerce
CPR/AED Training Classes.

Submitted Photo