Robert H. Trenkamp, Jr.: An Advocate Who Made A Difference

Robert H. Trenkamp, Jr.: An Advocate Who Made A Difference

Robert H. Trenkamp, Jr., 74, of Skidaway Island, Georgia, suffered sudden cardiac arrest at his daughter's home in Zurich, Switzerland, over the Christmas holidays. Since he was a staunch advocate for improving survival from cardiac arrest, his family was well-versed in the critical importance of CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs). They immediately gave him pedal CPR and used the AED that was by his bedside. Emergency Medical Services arrived within minutes and he was life-flighted to one of the best heart hospitals in Europe, where he received state-of-the-art cardiac care. Due to medical complications, however, he passed away on January 4th.

Trenkamp was a dedicated volunteer for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation and served on its Board of Directors and Advisory Council. He also helped manage the Foundation website, was an active blogger, and represented the organization at multiple conferences.

Trenkamp was president and co-founder of Saving Lives in Chatham County (SLICC), Savannah, GA. Under his leadership, SLICC increased the percentage of people trained in CPR in local zip codes from six to 36 percent, developed a neighborhood CPR training program for organizations such as places of worship, and launched a CPR for schools training product used by dozens of area schools—all free of charge.

Working with Fernando J. Perez, MD, an emergency physician from St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital in Savannah, he conducted research on ways to improve survival from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Their research demonstrated that “heel CPR” could dramatically improve the effectiveness of chest compressions. Through their efforts, 10,000 people in the Savannah area were taught this innovative method. In addition, since SCA occurs most often in the home, Trenkamp advocated for the placement of AEDs in every home. He and his wife had a personal AED and carried it wherever they traveled.

Research by Trenkamp and Perez was presented at many national scientific meetings, including the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions and the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Update. During ECCU in December 2017, he presented information on preventing leaning when providing CPR.

“Bob Trenkamp was a tremendous asset to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation and a dedicated advocate for the cause. We are extremely sad to learn of his passing,” said Mary Newman, president. “Bob cared passionately about saving lives threatened by sudden cardiac arrest, and he did everything he could possibly do to help improve survival rates. We were honored to know and work with him. He was a selfless, creative, and visionary individual who will always be remembered with admiration and fondness. Plus, he had a keen sense of humor and his e-mails frequently made us laugh out loud.”

A graduate of Yale University and Case Western Reserve University, Trenkamp spent most of his career working as an electrical engineer and business executive. Following his retirement in 2001, he earned his EMT and paramedic credentials in New York and Georgia, and volunteered with EMS organizations in Maple Springs, NY, and Savannah.

Trenkamp and his wife have two children and five grandsons.

A memorial is planned for Saturday, February 3, from 1-3:00 pm in Savannah.

To submit a testimonial in remembrance of Bob to be shared with his family, please contact info [at] sca-aware [dot] org (subject: Bob%20Trenkamp) (info [at] sca-aware [dot] org.)

Bob Trenkamp's Obituary




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The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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