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Life Saved During Relay Kick-off

Staff Sgt. Cristina Garza, 30th Comptroller Squadron financial analyst, works on her computer at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., April 19, 2022. (U.S. Space Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tiarra Sibley)

Staff Sgt. Cristina Garza, 30th Comptroller Squadron financial analyst, works on her computer at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., April 19, 2022. (U.S. Space Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tiarra Sibley)

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Staff Sgt. Cristina Garza, 30th Comptroller Squadron financial analyst, went into action to help save a gentleman’s life during her office team relay kick-off at Vandenberg Space Force Base Calif., April 8, 2022.

 After the relay, everyone on the team gathered to take team pictures when something unexpected happened.

“We were taking pictures and as we were moving around, the gentleman in our group suddenly collapsed,” said Garza. “The team members gathered around asking him if he was okay but, he was not responding and eventually stopped moving.”

With concern for the unresponsive man quickly growing, Garza diligently tried to get the man to wake up and answer her.

“I dropped to the floor, shouted his name and tapped his shoulder to see if he would respond, but he didn’t,” said Garza. “I checked for breathing and the rise and fall of his chest. Members were already calling 911 and getting security forces assistance as I started the cycles for CPR.”

Security Forces rushed over to the unconscious man and took over the chest compressions, while Garza continued the breathing cycles. 

“My vision narrowed and I could only hear the information that was being said around me and the other three members that were assisting me,” said Garza. “A security forces member took over the compressions, while another service member was counting the compressions out loud. Eventually, we got an AED, attached the pads to the gentleman, powered on the machine and delivered a shock when prompted.”

The group continued the compressions and breath cycles, while they kept applying the AED pads to the unresponsive man and after a few rounds of CPR, the medics arrived to the scene.

“My hands started shaking as it all started sinking in with knowing what happened,” said Garza. “What we did hit me and I started tearing up because now my mind was thinking, ‘Was it enough?’ and just hoping that the man would be okay.”

After being emotionally tested during this emergency, days after the incident, Garza was notified by her commander that the gentleman suddenly made a turn for the better.

“I felt this huge wave of relief and I let the tears flow,” said Garza. “I was grateful that he was going to be okay and that we would be able to see him again.”