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Calexico officers honored for lifesaving heroics

March 28, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Two Calexico police officers were honored Wednesday for breathing life into one of this city's most well-respected citizens, Carlos "Perk" Carrillo.

Patrol Officer Tim McEntire and school resource Officer Carlos Ramirez were driving along Highway 98 on March 1 when they spotted a car stopped at the busy Highway 111 intersection.

The driver of the car, Carrillo, had just suffered a massive heart attack.

The officers quickly assessed the situation and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the father of Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Hildy Carrillo-Rivera and the uncle of Calexico Mayor Victor Carrillo.

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Ramirez said it was a team effort.

"I was doing the compressions and McEntire was applying mouth-to-mouth with the department's CPR mask," he said.

Carrillo died March 3 from complications caused by the heart attack.

Carrillo-Rivera said the officers' quick action allowed her father two more days with his family.

"His two sons were able to come in. They held his hand and talked to him," she said.

His sons, Carlos Jr. and Mario, live in Tucson and Los Angeles, respectively.

Commenting on the actions of the officers, Carrillo-Rivera said, "They were heroes."

She said, "I was at the chamber. They were so fast. The officers were there immediately. I couldn't see the car or the body, but I saw how they had everything under control. I watched it. I know exactly how it went down. They were top-notch. I was hysterical. They were trying to control me. They really did a magnificent job."

Additionally, she wants people to know her father wasn't ill before his heart attack.

"(The attack) was just an interruption in his everyday routine," she said.

For their actions, McEntire and Ramirez, were lauded at separate ceremonies Wednesday.

The first was Wednesday morning at the Calexico Police Department headquarters, where the pair was given awards for "outstanding lifesaving efforts."

Chief Mario Sanchez said the two men also will receive ribbons for their uniforms.

"They did things right when the situation came up on them. They made the department proud; they made us proud," Sanchez said.

The second award ceremony was at the beginning of El Centro Regional Medical Center's monthly board meeting Wednesday evening.

There the officers received the hospital's "community service award."

They were recognized at the meeting as "a credit to our Valley."

Even though they are grateful for the accolades, the officers deflected credit after each ceremony.

"You don't go into these things thinking about life-saving. We're here to provide a service," Ramirez said.

Following the El Centro ceremony, McEntire said he didn't think he and Ramirez were heroes, saying, "I believe it's part of the job. That's what it's expected to be. When you put the uniform on, that's what's expected."

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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