During the regular Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting on October 24, 2023, Janie Morales was recognized by Sharon Christian of the American Red Cross of Florida for performing CPR on a visitor who became unresponsive during a Tampa Bay Rays game.
Christian credited Morales for her successful efforts when she “stepped up and saved a life at a sporting event.” She continued, “We appreciate that she was willing to exemplify the Red Cross mission and alleviate suffering in the face of an emergency, and we commend her for her willingness to step up and help others.”
Christian read from a prepared statement by Morales’ partner, describing Morales’ actions that day. “Janie and I attended a (Tampa Bay Rays Game) on June 9th. While sitting in our seats waiting for the game to begin, I noticed a gentleman getting a lot of attention, and (bystanders) looked like they were trying to wake him up, and panic began. I told her, ‘Babe, they need you. Go.’ She jumped over the seats, and once she saw the man blue in the face, clammy and cold, she started giving orders. She instructed a man to grab the victim, lay him down on the aisle, on the stairs, and started performing chest compressions. On her third set of compressions, the man gasped for air, letting (Morales) know his pulse was back.
“At the time, EMTs arrived and asked if she knew how to put on AED electro-pads, and she said ‘yes.’ She ripped his shirt open and put the (pads) on him so she could shock him to get him back into sinus rhythm (a normal heart rhythm). Once the gurney arrived, EMTs carried the man to the gurney to take him to the ambulance… behind home plate. We were told he was responsive in the ambulance and was communicating when he got to the hospital. She simply saved the man’s life.”
The audience applauded when Christian asked Morales to join her at the podium. Invited to the podium by Chairman John Allocco, Morales said, “I just want to say thank you. I’m no hero. I just did what I was raised to do, which was just to help. So, I’m just really happy I was there and I’m just really happy this was a success story and that he is doing well today. So, thank you all for having me.”
As Morales humbly turned to leave, Chairman John Allocco asked her to stay. “I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to learn CPR.”
To the public, Allocco said, “It’s not that difficult, people, and it’s not that long. It’s important for you to know how to save somebody’s life if you come across it, and even if it could just be a family member, you never know.”
To Morales, he said, “You are a hero… Congratulations for stepping up to the plate.”