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16-year-old lifesaver awarded 'Community Hero' by Spring Valley Area EMS

Spring Valley EMS awarded Spring Valley High School student Jordan Arriola (holding plaque) for saving his father’s life at a ceremony May 29. (Front, from left) Susan Christenson, Mel Jorgenson, Jose Garcia (Arriola’s father), Jordan Arriola, Tara Wentlandt, Kari Hayley; (back row) Madison Bryan, Tyler Thiede, Tom Boyer, Brad Jorgenson and Tod Jorgenson. Rachel Helgeson / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Mel Jorgenson with the Spring Valley EMS gives Jordan Arriola a hug during the award ceremony, congratulating him on being a brave lifesaver for Jose Garcia in his home prior to EMS arrival. Tara Wentlandt with the Spring Valley EMS, middle, and Chief of Baldwin Ambulance Tom Boyer, left, wait to thank Arriola. Rachel Helgeson / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
Tod Jorgenson, Director of Spring Valley Area Ambulance, shakes 16-year-old Jordan Arriola's hand during a ceremony at Spring Valley Middle-High School after awarding him for his first aid success that saved Jose Garcia's life. Arriola said he understood CPR practices because of Spring Valley High School's health class. Rachel Helgeson / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

It was Spring Valley High School sophomore Jordan Arriola's first time performing CPR in the real world.

Arriola had learned CPR when he was a freshman at Spring Valley High School, just last year, in a health class.

Because of Arriola's quick and brave response to begin chest compressions on his father Jose Garcia in their home after Garcia collapsed in the bedroom, a life was saved on March 25, 2019.

"Jordan performed chest compressions for six minutes before EMS arrived. The statistics show after the first four minutes, every minute passed is a 10% decrease in chance of the life being saved," said Brad Jorgenson, Assistant Director of EMS at Spring Valley Area Emergency Services.

This is also the first time Spring Valley Area EMS has ever awarded a citizen for their first response lifesaving efforts in the form of a Community Hero Award, and they were pleased to do so on May 29 at 3 p.m. in the Spring Valley Middle-High School gymnasium.

The staff from Spring Valley emergency services who congratulated Arriola was also a part of Garcia's rescue in March: EMS workers Susan Christenson, Tyler Thiede, Mel Jorgenson, Tara Wentlandt, Tod Jorgenson and Melanie Anderson. Madison Bryan with the Spring Valley Police Department and Tom Boyer, Chief of Baldwin Ambulance, were also present.

Kari Haley, Medical Director at Regions Hospital, was present at the ceremony and spoke to the crowd in the gym about the importance of having citizens who are ready to be first responders before EMS arrives.

During the event in which Garcia experienced a cardiac arrest after reaching for something in the bedroom, Arriola was nearby and heard his father collapse. Arriola said he did panic, but knew he had to do something as everyone around him was also anxious.

Arriola dialed 9-1-1 and handed off the phone to a family member as he moved the bed away to make room to perform CPR on his father. Arriola's sister Divine was standing by to assist.

"It felt like forever," Arriola recalled about the experience. "But after 2 1/2 minutes, he (Garcia) started blinking when I told him to blink if he could hear me."

Garcia's heart rate was revived en route to St. Paul Regions Hospital, where Spring Valley EMS transported him.

Arriola and Garcia were surrounded by extended family members during the awards ceremony, along with a crowd of students who stood when asked by Principal Gretchen Cipriano who was trained in CPR.

Rachel Helgeson

Rachel Helgeson

(651) 301-7864