Heroes come in all ages and sizes. This year the LAFD honored more than a dozen members, along with an 11-year-old girl, for their courageous work as CPR heroes. On January 22, 2015, at the St. Joseph Medical Center, Deputy Chief Daryl Arbuthnott honored the firefighters, paramedics and civilians who helped save the lives of Rita Lovato and Cathie Lazarus. Among those honored were: Eduard Hengst, Robert Lind, Robert Sanchez, Oscar Stokes Jr., Dean Comer, Vincent Foster, Timothy Sharma, Scott Tanner, Brian Harris, Thomas Weigh, David Morales, Michael Woll, Steven Marczinko, and an 11 year-old, Kendall Stilwell.
In January of 2014, Rita Lovato suffered a cardiac arrest at her home. Her 11-year-old granddaughter, Kendall Stilwell, found her grandmother unconscious and not breathing. Unable to wake her, Kendall immediately dialed 9-1-1 and was connected to MFC Firefighter Steven Marczinko. Marczinko was able to calm his young caller and gave lifesaving CPR instructions to the emotional granddaughter. Engine and Rescue 105 responded and continued to perform CPR and transported Ms. Lovato to West Hills E.R. Thanks to the EMS skills of LAFD firefighters and paramedics, Ms. Lovato and Kendall Stilwell are still able to enjoy their lives together.
A second incident involved Ms. Cathie Lazarus, who was exercising at a fitness club in Universal City on March 11, 2013. When she suffered a cardiac arrest, a nearby bystander and two fitness club employees acted quickly, performing lifesaving CPR on Ms. Lazarus. Engine 76 and Rescue 86 responded and continued to deliver CPR, which resulted in obtaining a pulse while transporting the patient to the St. Joseph E.R. Since then, Ms. Lazarus has since made a full recovery.
The members of the LAFD do heroic work every day. It is meaningful to be recognized by the people whose lives they have helped to save and the public at-large that they serve. Congratulations to all the honorees.
By Marjorie Santos
Photos by Harry Garvin