Student close to meeting goal for school defibrillators

Grand Junction High School Activities Director Ned Pollert, left, describes how the efforts of Rob Harrison, right, have paid off with the purchase of AED (automated external defibrillator) devices for both Grand Junction and Central high schools during an assembly in the gym Friday. Harrison is holding the AED that will placed at Grand Junction High School.

Grand Junction High School sophomore Robert Harrison is close to achieving his goal of placing Automated External Defibrillator devices in all four traditional high schools in the Grand Valley.

Local organization ARVD Heart for Hope donated one of the devices, often called an AED, to Palisade High School in November. Harrison raised enough money to get AED devices for Central High School and his own school. The devices at Central and Grand Junction High were activated this month.

Harrison said he is a few hundred dollars shy of the $2,000 needed to pay for an AED and training for staff to learn how to use it at Fruita Monument High School. People can donate to Harrison’s AED fundraising efforts by writing a check to Fruita Monument High School and writing “From the Heart, For the Heart” in the memo line. For more information, visit Harrison’s website at

Harrison was honored for his fundraising efforts Friday during a student assembly at Grand Junction High. The AED devices, which are posted outside the schools’ gyms, can be used to shock a person’s heart if he or she experiences sudden cardiac arrest.

Harrison set a goal of getting the first AED devices into District 51’s high schools after learning about student athletes in Michigan and Fort Collins who died of sudden cardiac arrest when no AED device was available. He said he plans to start fundraising to place AED devices in all District 51 middle schools as soon as he finishes fundraising for Fruita Monument.

“I feel like my job’s done at this school, but there’s more work to do,” Harrison said before Friday’s assembly.

Grand Junction High School Principal Jon Bilbo said Harrison’s efforts “show his willingness to give back to the school.”

“It’s nice Robert solicited the funds for us because I don’t have the money,” Bilbo said.

Bilbo said he moved to Grand Junction from Pennsylvania, where state funding is provided to place AED devices in all schools.

“I hope we never have to use it,” he said, referring to Grand Junction High’s new AED. “But if we do, it’s there.”


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