PALMDALE – On December 13, 2010 at approximately 4:30 p.m., Renae Swanson called 9-1-1 and informed the operator that her boyfriend, Anthony Jimenez had a heart attack and was unconscious and not breathing. The call was dispatched to both the LA County Fire Department and Palmdale Sheriff’s Station Units. Within minutes, Palmdale Sheriff’s Deputy Diane C. Valadez arrived on the scene. She ran into the house, assessed the situation and immediately began administering CPR. She continued CPR for about 5 minutes until personnel from the LA County Fire Station 93 arrived. Once the fire department took over the CPR, Valadez began to comfort Swanson. She told her everything would be alright and gave her a hug.
Valadez’ decisive actions and efficient performance not only saved Jimenez’ life, but prevented potentially serious coronary or brain damage.
Thursday, several public safety, city, and state officials sang praises for Valadez in a ceremony to recognize her actions on December 13, 2010 – actions that earned her the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Lifesaving Award.
“This is an opportunity for us to recognize an individual who was first to respond to an incident [and] without a doubt, saved somebody’s life,” said Palmdale Sheriff’s Station Captain Bobby Denham.
“You have our sincere appreciation and gratitude for your heroic act. Thank you on behalf of the City of Palmdale,” said Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford.
“It’s a true honor to be up here with a hero, and that’s exactly what we have,” said Assemblyman Steve Knight. “Heroes take the situation at hand and they do something about it, and that’s exactly what Deputy Valadez did.”
“You were the guardian angel for that family,” said Norm Hickling, Deputy for Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.
“They probably didn’t expect the guardian angel for them was going to wear a Sheriff’s uniform, but nonetheless, they were thankful and very blessed to have you be there,” Hickling continued.
Perhaps more thankful than anyone, is Anthony Jiminez. Thursday he gifted Valadez with a cross, a plaque, flowers and a t-shirt, which reads, “You are loved more than you will ever know, by someone who died to know you.”
In addition to the Lifesaving Medal, Valadez received certificates of recognition from the City of Palmdale, the California State Assembly, Sen. Sharon Runner’s Office, and Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s Office.
Valadez said she was overwhelmed by all the recognition and humbly insisted that her actions were all in a day’s work.
“When I arrived at that house and I saw him, I reacted like if it was my family member and I wanted to do anything that I could to help him,” said Valadez. “I probably did the same thing any of my partners would do.”
Valadez was one of 17 members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department honored with Lifesaving Awards, from Sheriff Lee Baca late last month.
Deputy Valadez was not able to attend the awards ceremony so the Palmdale’s Sherrif’s Station held a special ceremony Thursday to present Valadez with her Lifesaving Award.
The Lifesaving Award is presented to employees or reserve members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department whose actions result in the saving or preservation of a human life that otherwise would have expired without the employee’s direct involvement.
Deputies from the following stations were also presented with lifesaving awards: San Dimas, Compton, Crescenta Valley, and Temple Sheriff’s Stations.