Las Vegas police Officer Clarence Romero is alive today, and he knows whom to thank for that.
On Jan. 27, Romero had just ended his shift and arrived at the city recreation center around 6:30 a.m. to begin his workout, playing a few games of racquetball. Shortly after playing, he walked into the fitness room, where he collapsed.
Debbie Martinez, a local registered nurse and a regular at the center, came to the rescue. She determined that Romero had no pulse and used the center’s automated external defibrillator, a device that is used to revive people.
The device was prepared by Martinez, while former Police Chief Tim Gallegos and local bodybuilder and center employee Edmund Ekeoha performed CPR.
Within minutes, they administered three pounds of shock treatment on Romero. The combination of CPR and shock treatment is credited with saving Romero’s life.
At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Romero and Police Chief Gary Gold publicly thanked Martinez, Gallegos and Ekeoha. Only Martinez was at the meeting, and she was presented with a pin and a certificate as a commendation for her help.
“It is individuals like these who make our community a safer place to live in,” Gold said.
Romero, who came back to the Police Department after retiring from the agency in 2004, said he had a blockage in one of his arteries, which stopped his heart.
“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today,” he said.
Looking at Martinez, Romero said, “She works out every day. It’s wonderful to see her there.”
Recreation Center Director Loretta Abreu Martin noted that Martinez’s gym membership would be expiring on April 23, so the center gave her an annual membership for her heroics.