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Navarrete Middle School staff members receive El Paso Fire Department’s highest civilian honor

(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT – Feb. 21, 2024) — Four El Paso ISD employees are recipients of the El Paso Fire Department’s (EPFD) highest honor for civilians for their actions and quick thinking in helping a colleague during a health crisis. 

Staff from Capt. Gabriel L. Navarrete Middle School received the EPFD Civilian Citation on Tuesday, Feb. 20, for helping an employee who suffered a heart attack. Navarrete Principal Nuri Robles, school nurse Maria Moreno, former campus patrol officer Christine Martinez, and school counselor Catherine Roy were all recognized for their heroism. The award recognizes civilians whose meritorious actions result in the saving of a life, the reduction of serious injury, or the reduction of property loss. 

The incident occurred March 23, 2023. Emergency responders were dispatched to the Navarrete campus to a sick party call. While en route, the call was updated to CPR in progress. Emergency crews were notified that Martinez found the unconscious employee slumped over and unresponsive at her desk. Martinez called out verbally for help and requested 911. Martinez and Robles subsequently performed CPR on the employee.  

The school nurse later arrived with an automated external defibrillator, or AED. The device helped analyze the unconscious employee’s vital health signs and advised for a shock. According to EPFD, Moreno administered the shock and CPR was continued. 

EPFD crews transported the employee to University Medical Center, and it was noted that defibrillation was administered during CPR before the ambulance’s arrival. 

EPFD officials believe if not for their actions, the patient would have died. Ms. Robles, Ms. Moreno, Ms. Martinez, and Ms. Roy will receive their awards during a special ceremony at the Starlight Event Center.