Local teacher honored as 2019 Red Cross Education Hero for educating public about health care

ROANOKE, Va. – The 2019 Red Cross Education Hero is about to close the book on her teaching career.

But her life's work lives on through her students, who are saving lives.

Sheila Tinsley reviews parts of the chest with her health science students.

The Roanoke Technical Education Center teacher has spent nearly three decades teaching in some form, whether it's at the health department or at a school.

Tinsley says it is all about making the next generation into lifelong learners. 

"I'm honored that I had teachers when I was in high school, and that's a long time ago. Don't want to tell. That instilled that in me, so I'm just honored to be able to instill that in other students, in my students," said Tinsley. 

While she's standing at the front of the classroom now, Tinsley has come full circle. Her love of health care started when she was just like some of her students -- helping out with local blood drives at the old civic center. 

"My dad would drop me off on his way to work and I would be down there all day and I just enjoyed it. I mean, just the action of the people coming in and working the canteen and talking to the donors -- it was just wonderful," said Tinsley. 

Now, her students are helping save lives with their own blood drives, CPR training and first aid classes. She says that in her classroom, they begin with learning to be compassionate toward others. 

"First, we start out with having concern for each other. So, while we're in the classroom they know that we're a big family, you know?" said Tinsley. "They do very well and they look out for each other and they do a really good job."

When asked if she felt like a hero, Tinsley responded: 

"I do. I feel like a hero to the Red Cross and to the community, especially because I tell the students that, you know, we have a responsibility and our responsibility is to our community and wherever that we live," said Tinsley. "So, if we can do and take care of our community, our community will take care of us." 

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