Artesia High School Staff Recognized for Life Saving Actions

Three Artesia High School coaches, the school nurse, and the student resource officer were all recognized by the City of Lakewood for their actions in saving a student's life. 

Last spring, cheerleaders were completing their mile run after school when one of the students collapsed. Cheer coach Gisella Mendoza tended to the student, and immediately recognized that something was wrong. As luck would have it, Coaches Don Olmstead and Joe Veach were on the field and saw Coach Mendoza with the student. They immediately took action to help, radioing for the school nurse, Ana Ualika. 

Within moments, Nurse Ana was on the scene with an automated external defibrillator or AED. Recognizing that the student was in cardiac arrest, she used the AED while giving the coaches directions. By that time, the school’s student resource officer, Deputy John Bluntach, arrived on the scene and called for an ambulance and paramedics. 

Because of their actions, the student not only survived but fully recovered and has returned to school. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of these amazing people,” said Artesia High School Principal Sergio Garcia. “Our educators and staff members go above and beyond for students, and, in this case, that meant saving a life. They are great examples of what our school and school district is all about.”

The City of Lakewood presented the Award of Valor to Deputy Bluntach and the Mayor’s Award to Coaches Mendoza, Olmstead, Veach, and Nurse Ana at this year’s Award of Valor Luncheon.