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A San Diego Parks and Recreation employee was honored Tuesday by the American Red Cross Southern California Region for the live-saving actions he took when he came across an unconscious man while working at the San Diego Convention Center last year.

Victor Gomez-Cervantes was given the Lifesaving Award for Professional Responders, one of the highest awards given by the Red Cross.

“We’re proud to honor Victor for his quick thinking and immediate response,” said Sean Mahoney, regional CEO of the American Red Cross. “His willingness to put his training into action truly embodies the spirit and mission of the Red Cross.”

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Diego Convention Center was established as a temporary homeless shelter.

Last June 18, Gomez-Cervantes was working when he went into the bathroom and noticed a man lying on the floor. He quickly put on his personal protective equipment and directed another individual to call 911 and to notify the onsite firefighters. He performed an assessment by checking the man’s pulse and breathing then immediately started performing chest compressions.

An on-site nurse arrived to assist and helped to administer two doses of Naloxone, but the man did not respond. Gomez-Cervantes, with the help of another bystander, resumed chest compressions until Emergency Medical Services personnel arrived on site to stabilize the man.

The Lifesaving Award for Professional Responders is the highest award given by the Red Cross to individuals or group of individuals who save or sustain a life using skills learned in a Red Cross Training Services course.

American Red Cross Training Services teach lifesaving skills to an average of more than 9 million people each year, including thousands of people in San Diego and Imperial counties.

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