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.