The month of August has interesting celebrations. According to the World Almanac, August is Black Business Month, Happiness Happens Month, National Immunization Awareness Month and National Toddler Month.
These special designations call to mind the men and women who are true heroes in the community. They take care of business. In their pursuit of happiness, those who are parents make sure their toddlers are immunized. Then there are those who go beyond duty to do what is right.
Earlier this year a corrections officer saved an inmate’s life on the lower yard. After approaching the inmate, who had collapsed, he called for medical assistance over his radio, as is likely the protocol. Thereafter, he made the courageous decision to check on the fallen man’s pulse and found none. He could have waited for the medics to arrive; instead, he chose to administer CPR. He consequently saved the man’s life.
Asked On the Line conducted random informal interviews with men on the mainline and asked, “How do you feel about the incident where the C.O. saved an inmate’s life on the lower yard? How do you feel about the officer’s actions? If that fallen man had been you, how would you feel?”
Many of the men thought that the officer should be commended for his courageous decision.
Kevin Valvardi said, “I was very glad to hear the news about that. I read about it, too. I hadn’t heard of anything like that in over 17 years. The last time I heard something like that was in Calipatria sometime in 1997.”
Raymond Bodine said, “I think it’s great. I would like to thank the officer. What he did was commendable.”
Scott Balestrieri said, “I think that is wonderful. Something like that happened to me, too. Officer Jones saved me in the plaza area. That was highly professional, outstanding, and remarkable. Thank you Officer Jones.”
Adriel Ortiz said, “I feel pretty good about it actually. At first, I didn’t know him, but when I saw him working on the inmate, I was surprised. I was down there and saw the whole thing. As far as that officer, my attitude has changed. I have much more respect for him now.”
“That kind of act of kindness in a place where there is so much hostility, coldness and stress”
Orlando Harris said, “He did his job, and he did it well. That is commendable. I think the fact that he was able to show some compassion and humanity, despite him being in green and an inmate in blue, he saved a human being.”
Isaiah Thompson-Bonilla said, “I was there. I was at the equipment box ready to play baseball. I told the officer to ‘look over there’ where a guy collapsed and fell backward. Actually, I felt good about the situation. The officer walked over and called on his mic and called Med 1 and then he started CPR. He worked hard and vigorously to bring this guy back. It looked like he worked on the guy for like 20 minutes. He didn’t stop working on the man. He was pushing and pushing and the officer was drenched in sweat. I knew who the inmate was from a veteran’s group. At first, I didn’t think he was coming back, but the officer brought him back. It was a crazy afternoon.”
Jesus Flores said, “I couldn’t believe it, an officer was saving an inmates’ life. I was too far away on the yard to see who went down, but I did see an officer trying to revive him. That officer is a hero.”
Larry Gomez said, “I think it was a profound thing to see. That kind of act of kindness in a place where there is so much hostility, coldness and stress. I know the officers work a lot, and inmates are stressed out about being here and yet one man saved another man’s life. We get caught up in our situation. There are greater things in life. People can become insensitive, but even in here, we can become sensitive people. That officer didn’t have to save him, but he did.”
Tommy Ross said, “Well, I witnessed it. I actually thought he was gone. The officer was persistent in pumping the man’s chest until the medical team arrived. He’s a by-the-book officer, and to see him revive a man with no hesitation made me see him in a whole new light. I remember that when we saw that the man was alive and was moving, we clapped for the officer. He didn’t have to do it. If that inmate had been me, I would have been grateful. It was a good thing. No class distinction got in the way.”
Jose Diaz said, “Para mi fue una buena obra. Salvo la vida de un ser humano. Yo lo miro a ese official como una Buena persona. Estoy agradecido por el.” [For me it was a good work. I see the officer as a good person. I am grateful for him.]