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June 18, 2008
Lake Tapps scoutmaster honored with heroism award
|Ricky Morales and his mother Angela Morales admire the heroism award he received June 9 at Lake Tapps Middle School.|
|Photo by Judy Halone photo|
ENUMCLAW, Washington (STPNS) -- A woman received a second chance at life Oct. 6, 2007 ? the day Ricky Morales sat down in a Portland restaurant for a business luncheon. And she has Morales to thank.
The woman was discovered lying unconscious and non-responsive on the bathroom floor. Among the crowd that had gathered around her, no one knew how to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
?A gentleman hurriedly walked back to our table,? Morales, a 19-year-old Lake Tapps resident said. ?He asked our group in a soft voice, ?does anyone know CPR?? I laughed and said ?yes.? I thought he was joking because he didn?t appear too upset.?
But when the desperate man?s expression turned extremely serious, Morales knew in a heartbeat someone?s life was on the line.
?I knew something wasn?t right,? he said.
Morales rushed to the bathroom.
?She was pale and lifeless ? there was no response and no pulse,? he said.
He directed a bystander to call 911, which someone had already done.
That?s when his CPR training and leadership skills sprang into action.
?I picked an employee of the restaurant as a secondary to assist me in CPR,? he said.
That employee happened to be the restaurant?s manager, Michael Schneider, who had learned CPR skills 20 years earlier.
?Ricky appeared confident and calm. I could tell right away I could trust him,? Schneider said.
At Morales? direction, Schneider checked the woman?s airway to rule out choking.
?He appeared afraid, so I calmly told him to give her rescue breaths,? Morales said. ?And we began CPR 30 and 2 (30 chest compressions and two breaths.)?
They soon heard the victim?s lungs making popping sounds, ?just like what is taught in CPR class,? Morales said.
?Together we got some air into (the victim),? Schneider said. ?She began to cough periodically. We continued CPR until paramedics arrived.?
Morales said that when Schneider performed the rescue breaths they heard more fluid moving in the lungs.
?We did three sets and on the third set, her pulse and breathing returned,? Morales said. ?The color returned to her face. I held her tongue with my thumb and forefinger to prevent her from choking.?
Morales estimated it took about five minutes of action before the paramedics arrived, who took over.
?Fifteen minutes later she walked out of the bathroom to the ambulance,? he said.
When it was over, Morales straightened his tie and returned to his lunch.
Morales? mom, XXXX, was seated around the corner and could not see what was happening.
?Someone came up to me and said, ?he?s saving someone?s life!?? she said. ?I broke down and cried.?
In a letter of commendation from Portland Fire and Rescue, Lt. Allen Oswalt wrote, ?Portland Fire and Rescue appreciates the effort of people who step up and do the hard thing when conditions demand. Mr. Morales certainly did that in this instance.?
The department also invited Morales, a 2007 Auburn Riverside graduate and an Auburn YMCA lifeguard, to apply for an entrance exam.
?He is the type of person the fire service is looking for to staff...If Portland is too far away, I?m sure that any fire department would be glad to have him as an employee.?
The commendations didn?t stop there.
Morales, a Boy Scout since the age of 6 and now an assistant scoutmaster, received the National Boy Scouts of America Heroism Award June 9 in a surprise ceremony at North Tapps Middle School. Officials from the Pacific Harbor Council presented him with a plaque and Heroism Ribbon and medal.
?From what I understand, only about 200 of these are awarded each year,? said his scoutmaster, Bryant Wood of Lake Tapps, who nominated Morales for the coveted award.
Morales received a standing ovation for his efforts, which he was quick to downplay.
?In his words, he says, ?hey, I?m no hero,?? Wood said. ?But I say, ?yeah, right!? This is more than just using CPR. Ricky used his ability to assess the situation and take leadership. It?s that aspect and the ability to take charge that really impresses me.?
Morales credits the Boy Scouts for teaching him both life-saving and leadership skills.
?The way I see it, I?m no hero,? he said. ?I just did what I was to taught ? to help others and be prepared.?
But Wood and Schneider say he is a hero.
?I told him, ?That woman now has a future ? a second chance at life ? because of what you did,? he said.
Schneider said that Morales stood ?in the way of death so that someone has another day and another chance.?
Morales? future also looks promising; he hopes to become a commercial airline pilot and is attending the Northwest Aviation College in Auburn.
Judy Halone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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