5 Marines honored for saving Calif. man in cardiac arrest

The Marines jumped into action when a man at the senior citizen Mardi Gras party they were attending went into cardiac arrest


Jeong Park
The Orange County Register

In less than seven minutes, five visiting Marines and a Lake Forest recreation supervisor had gone from dancing to performing live-saving measures and helping paramedics get a man having a heart attack onto an ambulance and to the hospital, while calming party goers.

“Everything had worked the way it’s supposed to,” Recreation Supervisor Karen Rice said.

Five Marines from the 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, Lake Forest’s adopted military unit, were honored Tuesday, March 5, at the Lake Forest City Council meeting for their heroic actions. (Photo/Courtesy of the City of Lake Forest)
Five Marines from the 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, Lake Forest’s adopted military unit, were honored Tuesday, March 5, at the Lake Forest City Council meeting for their heroic actions. (Photo/Courtesy of the City of Lake Forest)

Rice and the five Marines from the 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, Lake Forest’s adopted military unit, were honored Tuesday, March 5, at the Lake Forest City Council meeting for their actions.

Last month, they were at City Hall, attending a Mardi Gras dance organized by the city for seniors. The Marines in the city’s adopted unit are regularly invited to enjoy events.

Everyone, including the Marines and about 100 seniors and volunteers, were dancing. One man was grabbing people’s attention with his moves.

“He was dancing really good,” Lance Cpl. Joseph Snodgrass said.

But suddenly the man fell backward and to the floor. He was having a heart attack.

Rice ran to grab the room’s automated external defibrillator, or AED, and used the machine to administer an electric shock.

The Marines – Snodgrass, Lance Cpl. Wade Siljenberg, Lance Cpl. Ricardo Partida, Cpl. Shantell Gonzalez and Staff Sgt. James Fortune – performed chest compressions, checked the man’s vital signs and comforted the man’s wife, who was at the dance, and his family members by phone.

The man was taken to a local hospital. A few days after, he had bypass surgery and is now recovering, officials said.

The troop members had never done anything like this before, they said. But, they have been trained for years on what to do.

“It was amazing how calm everyone was,” Rice said. “People at the back of the dance didn’t even know it was happening.”

When the moment came, Gonzalez said, she and her troop mates just knew how to react.

“It was just natural,” she said, “just filling the missing pieces.”

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©2019 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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