Roberto Saldivar is just happy to be alive. If not for the lifesaving efforts of some Orange County Sheriff Deputies, he might not be.
At City Hall on Thursday, the Rancho Santa Margarita man got a chance to personally thank two of the three men—and one woman—who successfully transitioned lifesaving efforts from a neighbor's CPR to Orange County Fire Authority personnel.
The event took place on July 7 at 8:40 p.m.
"I was chewing on a peach pit, sucking on it," Saldivar said. "It's a custom. I dozed off and down it went."
The pit blocked his airway. Saldivar's wife, Lourdes, discovered her husband unresponsive and ran outside and called on a neighbor, Mark Skelton, who initiated CPR.
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Sheriff deputies Brett Darnell, who was the first responder, Henry Cho, Isaiah Hicks and Courtney Ward arrived at the Calle Ranchera home and continued CPR efforts while administering a shock using a portable automated external defibrillator (AED).
Saldivar had a preexisting heart condition and had flatlined, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.
Saldivar, 61, was transported to Mission Hospital where he made a recovery. OCFA paramedics determined that the lifesaving efforts prior to their arrival had saved Saldivar's life.
The commendation from the City to the officer, which usually takes place at City Council meetings, was small—essentially, it was done at the request of Saldivar for the purpose of thanking his saviors. However, a line of OCFA personnel watched from the back of the room.
Saldivar, despite the custom, said he has changed his ways when it comes to sucking on peach pits to get the last of the attached fruit.
"No more," he said.