Chair, Department of Management & Business; Associate Professor of Management
A 2009 Messiah College Preview Day, held to give prospective students and their parents an in-depth view of the school, became much more to Michael Zigarelli, chair of Messiah’s Department of Management and Business. For him, it was also a firsthand chance to see God at work.
“As I sat in the student cafeteria trying to regale prospects with tales of the transformational courses they’d take, one high-schooler tapped me on the shoulder,” says Zigarelli. The boy said his friend at the next table was choking. “There must have been a thousand people in that cafeteria, but this kid tapped on the shoulder of the one faculty member who knew nothing about how to call security or the health center. It was my first year at the College,” he says. “It was also my first time in such a crisis.”
Still, Zigarelli was able to perform the Heimlich Maneuver and, three quick thrusts later, the boy’s airway was clear again. While he may have saved the student’s life that day, Zigarelli says the most interesting part of the story occurred three weeks earlier. “I awoke in a cold sweat from an awful dream that someone was choking and that I was helpless to do anything about it,” he says. “I watched the person suffer and pass out because I remembered nothing about what to do in that sort of situation.”
Unable to go back to sleep, Zigarelli got up and spent 30 minutes reviewing websites dedicated to teaching life-saving techniques. “I was so shaken that I even brushed up on how to use this stuff on my dog, just in case,” he says. Three weeks later, at the Preview Day, he received that tap on the shoulder, an event he doesn’t chalk up to chance.
“I probably have as much trouble as any believer with issues of discernment and hearing God and separating my voice from God’s voice,” he says. “I don’t see burning bushes or hear talking donkeys. But the proximity of these events – the dream and Heimlich refresher followed by the cafeteria incident – seems hardly a mere coincidence. What a remarkable God we serve!”
– Noreen Livoti ’02
Posted on November 12th, 2010