It is the memory of her son, Connor, that drove Debbie Neagle-Freed into advocacy.
Connor drowned in 2006 at the Crofton Country Club in Crofton, Md., when he was 5. The club had a defibrillator on the deck, but the lifeguards weren’t trained or allowed to use it. “If it had been used, it would have saved his life,” Neagle-Freed says.
And so she began lobbying to pass a state law in Maryland to require all public aquatics facilities to have AEDs and train lifeguards to use them. Gov. Martin O’Malley signed Connor’s Law in 2013, and by October, all facilities had to comply.
Her advocacy continues to the national level, with a federal bill. “There’s definitely interest on Capitol Hill,” she says.