For their heroic and lifesaving actions, three City of Santa Cruz lifeguards and the city’s Deputy Police Chief were honored with American Red Cross commendations today in a ceremony at the Central Coast Chapter’s Board of Directors meeting.
Lifeguards Jacob Wisotsky, Kyle Kingdom, and Greg Larson received the Red Cross Lifesaving Award for Professional Responders; Deputy Chief Rick Martinez received the Red Cross Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action.
The Lifesaving Award for Professional Responders is the highest award given by the American Red Cross to an individual who saves or sustains a life using skills learned in a Red Cross Training Services course.
The Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action is awarded to an individual who steps up in an emergency situation and helps save or sustain a life.
The certificates bear the signatures of the President and CEO of the American Red Cross and the chair of the local board of the American Red Cross.
“We’re extremely proud to present the Lifesaving Award for Professional Responders to Jacob Wisotsky, Kyle Kingdom, and Greg Larson, and the Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action to Deputy Chief Martinez,” said Rayvon Williams, the Chair of the local Red Cross chapter’s Board of Directors. “Their actions exemplify our mission to help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.”
On February 26 of this year, Jacob Wisotsky, trained in American Red Cross Lifeguarding/First Aid/CPR/AED, and First Aid for Public Safety Personnel, helped to save the life of a man who lost consciousness while swimming underwater at the Simpkins Family Swim Center in Santa Cruz.
After realizing that the swimmer was passive in the water, Wisotsky and bystanders removed the man from the water and promptly started to assess his condition.
Fellow lifeguard Kyle Kingdom quickly arrived and started chest compressions alongside Wisotsky. Lifeguard Greg Larson arrived with the AED (automated external defibrillator) along with the emergency response bag.
Larson set up the AED, which advised the trio not to administer a shock to the heart. Kingdom continued chest compressions while Larson and Wisotsky set up the Bag-Valve-Mask for possible use.
After two minutes of chest compressions, the man regained consciousness. Emergency Medical Responders arrived shortly after and transported him to a local hospital for further evaluation and treatment. As was stated at the Central Coast Chapter Board meeting, the skills learned in the American Red Cross Training Services courses — and the heroics of the three lifeguards — helped to save the life of this swimmer.
This past November 27, Deputy Chief Rick Martinez was en route to check on a homeless camp near the Highway 1 overpass — about 35 feet above the San Lorenzo River — when he received reports of a young woman leaning over river boulders below in apparent plan to kill herself.
Working quickly in the presence of dense vehicular traffic, Martinez, the first officer to arrive on the scene, worked to calm the woman by asking about her concerns and interests, where she attended school, and whether she had pets. The questions about her dogs appeared to change her demeanor, helping Martinez make an emotional connection with her and enabling him to explain the resources available to help.
After talking her off the overpass ledge, Martinez — with the help of other officers who had subsequently responded — was able to secure the woman in a safe location. Because of Martinez’s quick and effective work, a terrible outcome was prevented.
Red Cross training gives people the knowledge and skills to act in an emergency and save a life. A variety of online blended (online and in-person skills session), and classroom-only courses are available at redcross.org/takeaclass.
If you or someone you know has used skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Training Services course to help save or sustain the life of another individual, visit LifesavingAwards.org to nominate, recognize, or be inspired.