Philadelphia Junior ROTC Cadet Saves a Life
Philadelphia, PA – There are some who would say that Junior ROTC cadet William Cruz, 17, shouldn’t have wasted his time to save an addict on the brink of death. After all, Kensington is a known area for drug addicts. But when William was walking with his mother to her favorite hair salon and ran across a dying addict, he knew he had to do something.
Kensington is a notorious area, and has been described as a “heroin hellhole.” Cruz and his Mom, Janet, have to walk through there frequently to get to her hair salon. They’ve seen a lot of things along the way, which is why William always walks with his mother. But on this particular day, when William saw a man who appeared to be dead on the sidewalk, he stopped to check him out.
“I was thinking he was dead already. And my heart was heartbroken, because I knew he had family to go to.” William Cruz
That’s when he realized that the man was not dead yet, and was choking, the heroin syringe still stuck between his fingers. William began chest compressions and asked for passersby to call 911. Then he remembered that he had a dose of narcan in his pocket, a product of him taking a special class on CPR and the NRacotics reversal medication last year. So he sprayed a dose up the man’s nose and continued the compressions until medics arrived. The medics were able to revive the man.
Mike Newall at Philly.com reported,
An officer thanked him, and a news crew interviewed him. Janet told her son she was proud of him, and they walked to the beauty parlor.
“I was still scared, but I was proud of myself,” William said, “knowing what I did was the correct thing to do.”
At school the next day, Garcia had his cadet walk him through what had happened while he typed up a report, like any good military man. He has since nominated William for the Gold Valor Award, the highest citation in the junior ROTC program.
William says he didn’t save the man because he was brave. It was just the correct thing to do.
William Cruz is from Puerto Rico, and wants to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps in the US Air Force, either as a military police officer or a medic. He attends Thomas Edison High School where he joined the Junior ROTC program.
He is well on his way to earning the respect of not just his family, but his community as well. His commanding officer said that William “tries harder than most,” which is why he made Master Sergeant in the Junior ROTC program – it’s the highest rank available for Junior ROTC members.
Hard work, integrity, and a heart of compassion paid off. Great job, William Cruz!
Featured photo: Left, William Cruz screenshot via Anthony Pezzotti at Philly.com. Right- generic photo of syringes.