Joshua Erwin was getting ready to go to a wedding on May 17 when he heard the screaming coming from the backyard.
“That’s one thing that I keep seeing is just her little body lying there, not moving,” he said as he recalled coming around the corner and seeing the lifeless body of a 3-year-old who had just been pulled from a swimming pool.
She wasn’t moving, she wasn’t breathing, her cheeks were stiff, her lips and face were blue, and Joshua couldn’t find a pulse.
“Her mother was screaming and I had been doing CPR for about 15 or 20 seconds, and her screaming just stopped,” Joshua said. “I could see her screaming still, I could see her mouth open, but I didn’t hear anything. All I knew is that I had to get 100 pumps in a minute. And that’s what I did.”
It was at this moment when the training he gained from his two years being involved with the Oro Valley Police Department Explorer program kicked in.
The program offered by the OVPD is for men and women ages 14 through 20 years old and provides educational training programs with the goals being to help them choose a career path within law enforcement and to challenge them to become responsible citizens of their communities and the nation.
One of those programs taught to Joshua and his peers was CPR.
After about a full cycle of CPR on the 3-year-old, she threw up and began breathing again. Paramedics arrived about six minutes later.
Joshua, 15, is very grateful for the program and education he has been given and places the credit on the Explorer program.
“I feel without this training, I would have never known what to do and I feel like she probably wouldn’t be here today.
“It wasn’t me that saved her life, it was this,” he said as he pointed to a nearby classroom
where new Explorer’s were going through their CPR training class last week. “I don’t feel I did anything special or anything. It was just something that I happened to be there for.”
The class was being led by Mike Seegmiller, a Golder Ranch Fire District paramedic and CPR instructor – the same person who helped teach Joshua CPR.
Seegmiller is thrilled to hear that what he taught Joshua helped save a person’s life and has altered the way he approaches other CPR classes that he teaches.
“Ever since Josh told me about it all the CPR classes that I have been teaching I have been like ‘Guess what? This is really cool.’ And it is nice to be able to say ‘Hey, you may actually have to use this one day.’”
Oro Valley Police Officer Kevin Mattocks heads up the Explorer program and helps teach and educate the kids with the same information that is given to police officers. He feels a program such as this is valuable not only to the kids themselves, but to the town as well.
“When you are looking at all of the skills that you’re sending the youth out into our community with, CPR being one of them, and other training, you’re planting the seed in the community. And we have actually quite a few Explorers that have now gone through the process and have become a police officers.”
Up until the last couple of years, Joshua has wanted to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and join the United States Army. But after being involved with the Explorer program, the Ironwood Ridge student now says he is interested in becoming a police officer, specifically, with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.