Merced County Times Newspaper
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Campus liaison saves students life at Golden Valley High

Parent calls hero a ‘guardian angel’

Local hero, Richard Garcia, on the job at Golden Valley High School.
Local hero, Richard Garcia, on the job at Golden Valley High School.

A Golden Valley High School student is alive today thanks to the actions of a well-trained campus liaison.

The life-saving moment happened months ago, but the parents of the student — both Golden Valley teachers who were on the school grounds at the time — wanted to share the story with the Times.

Cade Ivy was just having a usual day, enjoying the company of his high school friends, during a refreshing break between classes. But that’s when an unimaginable mishap threatened his very life.

Before he could even realize what was happening, a water bottle cap became lodged in his throat, making it impossible to breathe. Everybody close around were stunned, not knowing how to deal with the situation.

Luckily, campus liaison Richard Garcia was nearby and fully prepared to jump into action. He rushed to Ivy and immediately began doing the Heimlich maneuver. This first-aid procedure — better described as abdominal thrusts — can be used in emergency situations to clear upper-airway obstructions by foreign objects.

After trying again and again, and growing more worried he may not be able to help, Garcia was finally able to free the cap from Cade’s throat, saving his life.

“I’m glad that I was trained,” Garcia exclaimed when recalling these events to the Times. “The District trains all of us each year—but I have never done it [in a real life-threatening situation]. And I was thinking, ‘Oh — I hope this works.’ I was just going and going — getting tired. And it eventually just dislodged. … I was relieved when it finally came out, but until then I was panicking. It’s just something that you have to do and go with instinct.”

He added, “I’m glad that Cade is OK and can continue with high school, and a baseball career.”

Parents, Tina and Rod Ivy, are both special education teachers at Golden Valley High, and they were on campus when everything happened.

“I’m speechless,” Tina Ivy told the Times. “If it weren’t for Rich, our lives would be on a completely different path right now. So, as a mom, it’s overwhelming to know that your child almost died, and that there was somebody there to save him.”

Rod Ivy chimed in, saying, “I’m very grateful. He’s like our guardian angel.”

The Ivys also feel it’s important for others to realize how important campus liaisons are to the school community, and the many ways they make a difference on any given educational day. They act as a bridge between administration and students. They assist with outdoor supervision and help maintain a safe school climate. They counsel students on proper behaviors. And they assist with student discipline problems, and intervene during confrontations.

“They work hard,” Tina Ivy told the Times. “They deal with teenage attitudes, and for many students, they are their go-to person for them to talk to. It is just beyond words the work that these amazing people do.”

While student Cade Ivy preferred to stay out of photos or speak in person, he told his parents to tell the Times on his behalf that, “It’s crazy to think that one moment I could have died, and that Richard was there to save me. Otherwise, my life would have ended.”

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