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Lehigh Carbon Community College

By Suzy Alstrin

An award for heroic actions illustrates how far a Reinhardt University police officer’s service to the community extends beyond campus borders. Officer Miguel Castro (RU-2021) also serves as a Fire Apparatus Operator Paramedic for Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services (CCFES). On April 9th the CCFES presented him with an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Lifesaver Award. The award recognizes Officer Castro for saving the life of a man in cardiac arrest in Canton, Georgia.

Typically, an emergency medical responder doesn’t ever learn the status of a patient’s recovery. But a few months after the Canton situation, his fire station squad visited an elementary school for a “touch a truck” experience with students. As a teacher thanked his team for the well-being they provide for the community and explained how Canton firefighters saved her husband, he realized she was describing him. Castro was thrilled to hear the news, “When she said he was alive, that was the most rewarding.”

Just days before the prestigious award ceremony, Castro’s valiant efforts again served a fellow citizen. While on duty at Reinhardt, he heard of a multiple casualty vehicle accident in Waleska through a cell phone firefighting app. Jumping into action, he arrived on the chaotic scene to find three people hurt and all responders working on a woman with life-threatening injuries. Noticing gasoline coating the ground, Castro made sure it was treated and prepared a fire hose, to be ready if it ignited. He also didn’t hesitate to tend to a male victim, administering an IV and other critical treatment.

Firefighters on the scene gratefully remarked to Castro, “Thank you so much for doing everything you’re doing because we just needed that extra hand on the scene.” Castro reflected, “Thankfully I was there and able to help. We did it all as a team. It wasn’t just me.” Reinhardt Police Chief Jay Duncan recognized Castro’s actions that day, “What’s special about Miguel is he has a unique skill set so he was the right person to respond to that call and handled it admirably.”

Humble by nature, in the same way he described the team effort in the Waleska accident, he makes sure his team receives equal credit, and recites his favorite phrase, “One team, one fight.” Regarding the award, Castro reflects, “It means a lot but at the same time I always want to include my crew with it, because we all know what our jobs are. My name was on top because I was the lead paramedic, but I give credit to all my guys. I love my crew. I’ve been with them three years and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”