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On October 8, 2017, Publix associate, Eryn Barry sprang into action and became an immediate hero. At 3:59 p.m., Publix customer, Josh left the store. Within a few minutes of leaving, the Customer Service Manager, was notified by a customer that somebody in the parking lot needed immediate attention. He grabbed the AED unit from the store and went to check on the customer with the Assistant Store Manager following quickly behind him. Grocery Team Leader, Eryn, heard the alarm inside going off that alerts when the AED Unit is removed from its casing. Something inside her told her to go check on the situation so she went outside to see how she could help. As Eryn approached the customer she noticed he was lying on the ground with blood on the back of his head and that his face was blue.


Before joining the Publix family in 2011, Eryn was a certified nursing assistant so she was quick to take charge of Josh, who was in need of immediate assistance. She noticed his airway was not completely blocked but he was struggling to get air in and out, as if he was suffocating. Eryn quickly started doing CPR on Josh and did about 60 full chest compressions until the EMS team arrived. The EMS team took over and before they left, they thanked Eryn for all she did to help Josh.

After the incident, Josh’s family members let Store Manager, Kevin Thornton, Jr., know that the initial reports weren’t very good. He was brought into the ICU and was unresponsive and had to be put on life support. A few days later, Josh was awake. A couple more days went by, and he started to recognize his family members and began talking to them again. The hospital called Kevin and told him that if Eryn hadn’t done the compressions on Josh, he would not be alive today. Josh’s son came into Publix following the events, found Eryn and gave her a big hug and an even  bigger “thank you.” Kevin told us, “I was in there with them as they sat in my office and just rejoiced that the efforts of Eryn were of great merit.”

Josh came into Publix when he was released from the hospital and feeling better to thank Eryn for her quick actions that day. The Fire Marshal also called Kevin at the store and recognized Eryn during a celebration in March.

We asked Eryn about what receiving the Mr. George Gold Coin Award meant to her. She said, “Receiving the Gold Coin Award means a great deal to me. It is such a privilege and an honor to represent Publix and be acknowledged for my actions that day. I just did what I thought was the right thing and was recognized for it.” We couldn’t be more proud of Eryn for going above and beyond.


Have you ever witnessed an associate going above and beyond at your local Publix? Share your story with us on Facebook or Twitter, via our Contact Us page or by phone at (800) 242-1227. To read the stories of other recipients of the Mr. George Gold Coin Award, check them out here.

Matthew L.

Written by

Matthew started with Publix in 2009. After working his way up to a Publix Manager, Matthew decided to make a change from retail and pursue his passion for writing. Matthew enjoys hearing stories from the people he's writing about and loves the Publix culture. Outside of work, Matthew enjoys spending time with his wife, son and their dog. They love to explore all that Central Florida has to offer.

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