The advantage of knowledge and how it can save people’s lives

Ian Randolph

Allan Laird, a retired engineer turned math tutor at Saddleback has been tutoring in the Learning Assistance Program for 22 years. Most of his tutoring centers on algebra. In 1997 he was awarded “Tutor of the Year.”

He is a charismatic man, who at 87 years old has achieved most of his goals and continues to live a fun and healthy life doing what he loves.

He graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in engineering. Soon after, he was living with his wife in the San Fernando Valley, residing in his original hometown of Northridge.

His daughter, who lives in Mission Viejo, suggested that they move south, so, at the age of 64 he and his wife settled into a retirement home in Caza Del Sol. While teaching at Saddleback he started taking classes and doing side jobs such as filming the Saddleback football games and occasional weddings. This grew into a passion for Video Production.

In 1989 he received a degree in Video Production and produced many shows on cable television for over six years.

He also took tennis and volleyball classes at Saddleback, which seems to have paid off because when I met him he didn’t look a day over 40.

During his time on campus he has made friends among his students, the coaches and the athletes due to all the time he spent with them taping the football games. But it wasn’t until he met a computer tutor in LAP by the name of Clyde that would change his life forever.

Laird and Clyde would usually talk about politics and the news but it wasn’t until he read an article that brought back an awful past that brought them closer together. The article was about strokes and he was amazed by it for the simple fact that he had a minor stroke a few years back but had no idea how to trace or stop it.

So he studied the human brain for quite some time and found out that the Broca area, which is the area in the brain that controls speech was the locale of his minor stroke. At times would have a difficult time speaking, so Clyde suggested that he speak to his doctor. He spoke with a physician for several minutes and after running some tests and prescribing some medication, his speech cleared.

Laird continued doing more research on strokes and discovered a stroke identification publication called “Recognizing Stroke.” In this letter he read many moving stories about people who have had strokes and don’t know they had them.

“Some don’t die, they end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead,” Laird said.

He also read that if a neurologist can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours, he can reverse the effects of a stroke completely.

Laird explained the warning signs for an upcoming or already made stroke, and how to identify and help.

First is to ask the individual to smile. Second, is to ask the person to speak a simple sentence. Third is to ask the person to raise both of their arms, and fourth is to have the person stick out their tongue to see if it’s crooked. If they have trouble doing any of the above, action needs to be taken immediately.

After learning all he did, Laird felt that this is a subject that everyone should know about. Spreading the knowledge of prevention can save lives and it is everyone to us to take the time to learn.

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