Above the Call: Off-duty CSP-Solano officer saves young girl’s life

CSP-Solano Correctional Officer Rod Harvell saved a young girl's life while off duty.

CSP-Solano Correctional Officer Rod Harvell saved a young girl’s life while off duty.

By Lt. John Ojo, AA/Public Information Officer
California State Prison, Solano

Off-duty CSP-Solano Correctional Officer Rod Harvell recently became more than a youth baseball coach when he helped save a young girl’s life.

It all happened during an early afternoon game with his youth baseball team. As usual, the team had readied themselves during their pre-game routine by fueling their energy with much needed carbs and protein before running to the field of green for their warm-ups. This is usually when Coach Harvell joins his team to perform the routine workouts to prepare them for their much-anticipated victory but on this day, he did not.

“Something told me to stay back that day.  I don’t know why I did, but I am lucky I was there,” Harvell said.

Rather than coaching, he quickly had to rely on his Correctional Officer training.  As he stood speaking with another coach, one of his 12-year-old players grabbed his arm.

At first, he thought nothing of it but when he could feel panic within the grasp of the child, he knew something was wrong.  He quickly turned to her and asked if she was OK.  With fright in her eyes, she began to hold her throat and shake her head, “no.”  Harvell then asked if she was choking.  Without a reply, she began to turn blue and dropped out of the chair to her knees.

In the face of panic and uncertainty, most of the crowd around scattered and appeared to not know what to do.  Harvell immediately went into action.

With a calm head and a personal control over his own demeanor, Harvell picked her up and began performing the Heimlich maneuver. His first attempt was unsuccessful. He knew that he had to keep trying.

“With all my strength, I literally picked her up off the ground,” he said of his second attempt. A piece of hot dog shot out of her mouth and she gasped for air.

“It all happened so fast,” Harvell explained.  “I knew that I had to do something to help.  My training helped me stay calm and stay in control.”

With the quick actions of Officer Harvell, there was definitely no crying in baseball that day.


43 Responses

  1. Betty Vasquez Thursday, December 29, 2016 / 9:45 am

    I’m proud to say we have co-workers who take action fast when needed, thank God for C.O. Rod Harvell being at the right place at the right time. God bless you and the girl’s life you saved. You’re awesome.

  2. L. Davis Tuesday, December 20, 2016 / 4:14 pm

    Great job. You relied on your training and immediately went into action. Way to go!

  3. D. Mizell Tuesday, December 20, 2016 / 10:18 am

    You really are a hero.

  4. Jasvir.delluna@cdcr.ca.gov Monday, December 19, 2016 / 10:55 am

    Wow! This story brings tears to my eyes. God gives us an inner voice for a reason and we need to listen. Good thing you did. Good job.

  5. PoppaRod Tuesday, December 13, 2016 / 10:27 am

    Awesome job, Rod-Man! Be blessed all your days!!

  6. Lieutenant Keehmer Saturday, December 10, 2016 / 3:14 pm

    You definitely were meant to be there, and thanks to you a family will be able to really appreciate and enjoy Christmas this year. God Bless You.

  7. R. Lozano Friday, December 2, 2016 / 5:38 pm

    Great job officer….

  8. Cynthia Soto Friday, December 2, 2016 / 10:44 am

    You were meant to be there, thank goodness you were.

  9. Annie Fagan Friday, December 2, 2016 / 5:43 am

    Congratulations for job well done, you are a true hero keep up the good work, God is good.

  10. N. Ramirez Thursday, December 1, 2016 / 5:14 pm

    Great job Officer Harvell. Had it not been for your quick thinking and taking action, this truly would have been a tragic story. God bless you sir!

  11. NETTIE HARVELL Thursday, December 1, 2016 / 11:40 am

    God kept you there for a reason. It was no accident. Great job, son!

    • N. Ramirez Thursday, December 1, 2016 / 4:32 pm

      Yes indeed!

  12. Karrie Thursday, December 1, 2016 / 10:17 am

    What a blessing you are.

  13. C.O. J. Bush Thursday, December 1, 2016 / 9:49 am

    As a colleague, but especially as a father, Thank you. Heroes and angels are amoung us, and you sir are both. Thank you

  14. kendra Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 11:56 pm

    There ARE NO accidents! Right man. Right place. Right time. God bless you. God bless you. God bless you.

  15. Irene Vasquez Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    Congratulations on your knowledge and control.
    From a fellow Alma Mater Classmate

  16. Marshall Mora Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 9:30 pm

    Good job, young man. Way to keep your wits when everyone panicked.

  17. BIG DAVIS Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 9:02 pm

    Great job, Harvell. Thanks for being there and helping that young lady. Thanks for being a positive for the community and CDC.

  18. CO Houston Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 8:51 pm

    Good job Officer Harvell. It’s good to have you on our team!

  19. Wendell hargro Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 8:47 pm

    Great job. CDC officers get the best training. Learning Basic Life Support ,CPR and abdominal thrusts (Heimlich Maneuver.) They are required to get 40 hours of training per year. Routine for COs. Just another day’s work. They often go unnoticed. Just remember, they are pretty good.

  20. Vee in reno Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 6:49 pm

    Good job, Rod. Glad I can call you my old flatlands friend.

  21. J. Reandelar Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 6:38 pm

    That’s awesome! Great job brother.

  22. Starke Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 6:27 pm

    Great job. I’m glad you were paying attention in CPR training.

  23. Emily Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 6:19 pm

    Those softball players are lucky to have you! Great job, Rod.

  24. A. Bowman Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 1:02 pm

    Thank you Correctional Officer Rod Harvell from a parent of two small children who will soon be playing under the guidance and direction of a coach, who I hope has all the skills and experience you demonstrated that faithful day. I know the parents of the child are very thankful to have a coach like you.

  25. Lisa Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 12:34 pm

    Officer Harvell,

    Thank you for being a good, honorable man worthy of receiving inspiration and for listening to the quiet prompting you felt–even though you did not know why at the time it came. You were given the opportunity to be used as an instrument to assist and bless that young girl’s life. We are God’s hands, if we are willing. As you can see by the comments posted, many of us are grateful for your example of obedience and service.

    • N. Ramirez Thursday, December 1, 2016 / 4:35 pm

      Absolutely true

  26. Sgt. J.Coake CIM Honor Guard Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 12:07 pm

    Officer Harvell, what an awesome job you did that day. As a father, these stories always hit home. Thank You and you are being recognized as a hero. Happy Holidays to you, the Team and especially that player and her family.

  27. Lieutenant Rick Hamamoto Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 11:23 am

    Way to go Officer R. Harvell you are a great tribute to know and have around the community and also inside the walls. I commend you with a “job well done.” Your training saved her life and I know you would do it again for anyone who needs help!

  28. Linda McAndrews Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 11:02 am

    We all need to listen to that little voice that told you to stay back! Great story…that’s where all that training pays off!

  29. Freddy Hernandez Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 10:58 am

    “Something told me to stay back that day”………. call it intuition, spirit guide, whatever, you did great. It’s officers like you that make CDCR shine. Keep up the great work.

  30. Greg Hernandez Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 10:43 am

    Thank you for being there helping with the team in the first place, you had been giving of your time and energy guiding youngsters to do their best. It was not luck you were there when the emergency happened, you placed yourself there through your service to the community.

    Great job!

  31. Karen Bains Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 10:33 am

    Such a heartwarming story and beautiful ending! You were her saving angel with God’s guiding hands.

  32. Mitch Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 10:33 am

    Great job, partner. Glad you were there to save that young lady’s life.

  33. anndriena johnson Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 10:31 am

    Great job. I think cpr/heimliech ought to be basic training for ALL positions in CDCR.

  34. Mike Tuntakit Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 10:12 am

    Michael.Tuntakit@cdcr.ca.gov Great job staying calm and falling back to your training. She is lucky you were there

  35. M. Dernoncourt Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 10:08 am

    Way to go Harvell! You are a true hero.

  36. Sunni.Harley@cdcr.ca.gov Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 10:04 am

    Love the last line in the story: “With the quick actions of Officer Harvell, there was definitely no crying in baseball that day.”
    So glad C/O Harvell yielded to the Holy Spirit that day.

  37. Valerie Estrella Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 10:01 am

    Thank you Officer Harvell! Your actions are highly commendable and I know her family and she will be forever grateful to you. You are a true hero. Congratulations!

  38. Shari Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 10:00 am

    God bless you, sir! What a difference you made in so many lives that day. That little girl and her family will be forever grateful.

  39. Teresa H Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 9:57 am

    Bravo! Thank you, Officer Harvell for keeping your calm and saving this girls life! She and her family will have a wonderful holiday because of you.

  40. D.A. Sanchez Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 9:56 am

    Good job. All CDCR can be very proud of you.

  41. Amy Taylor Wednesday, November 30, 2016 / 9:53 am

    Great Job! You said you were lucky that you were there that day…. SHE was also very lucky! Glad you were there too, that will be something she will never forget.

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