Every Friday morning, students at Newport Elementary School gather in the courtyard near the flagpole to pledge allegiance, sing patriotic songs and hand out citizenship awards to those who have demonstrated leadership skills during the week.
On this Friday there was a special honoree--Newport Beach Police Officer Glen Fisher, who saved the life of a 5-day-old infant Oct. 7 as a group of anxious sixth-graders watched from the window of their classroom across the street.
Responding to a call that an infant had choked, Fisher rushed to the apartment in the 1300 block of West Balboa Boulevard and immediately began giving the child mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The baby was breathing again 3 minutes before the paramedics arrived.
‘Baby Is Doing Fine’
“The baby is doing fine now,” Fisher said Friday. “They took her to a hospital that day and everything was fine. She only went about a minute without breathing.”
It was the second time in recent weeks that Fisher, 27, has been deemed a hero. Last month, he came to the aid of a woman who had been struck by a car in a highly publicized, drunk-driving case on the Balboa Peninsula. The woman, Debbie Killelea, died in Fisher’s arms shortly after the car struck her. This week, Danny David Ornelas, 19, of Huntington Park was ordered to stand trial on a charge of murder in the case.
“It makes it nice that this one turned out good,” Fisher said, referring to the most recent incident. “This one turned out the way it’s supposed to be. I probably won’t forget that (other) one, but I probably won’t forget this one either.”
During the brief ceremony, Principal Robert Miller gave Fisher a certificate of merit. Students later gave him 33 letters that they had written, commending him for saving the child’s life.
The incident last week began about 10:40 a.m. when Richard Thibdeau called the Newport Beach Police Department for assistance, saying that his newborn daughter, Lacy Ann, apparently had choked on some milk and was not breathing.
“The officer arrived to find the mother hysterical and the father holding this 5-day-old infant in his arms,” said police spokesman Bob Oakley. “He could see that the infant’s face is red and the lips are blue and it’s not breathing.
“So he grabbed the infant . . . started CPR using an airway-clearing technique used on infants. With that, the infant (coughed up) some fluid, which they think was formula, and started breathing again.”
Meanwhile, the 33 sixth-graders had heard the sirens and were watching from the classroom window. They were so impressed that they decided to honor Fisher during their weekly flag ceremony, according to Carolyn Matias, an office manager at the school.
Actions Were Natural
Fisher, who was an Orange County sheriff’s deputy for two years before joining the Newport Beach Police Department last year, said his actions during both incidents were natural.
“I’ve received a lot of training since I’ve been here. It’s just instinct. You get there and you do what you were taught to do. You just react, you don’t think about it,” he said. “It worked out right this time, and that’s what’s important.”
Fisher, of Mission Viejo, will be given an award of merit at the Police Department’s annual awards banquet next month, Oakley said.
The school, at 14th Street and West Balboa Boulevard, has 394 students, ranging from kindergarten through sixth grade.