An 18-year-old lifeguard saved the life of a drowning child July 16 at Haynes Pool.
That life guard, Morgan Maas, and her colleagues and the Rio Rancho firefighters who also responded to the crisis, were honored at the Rio Rancho Governing Body meeting Wednesday night at City Hall.
In his statement at the meeting, Mayor Gregg Hull said Maas saw 4-year-old Kaylee Webb in distress, pulled the unresponsive child from under the water and administered CPR until she regained consciousness. Meanwhile, her fellow lifeguards called 911 and supervised other pool users, keeping them out of the water and managing crowd control, while Haynes Pool Manager Jennifer Scheppmann directed them and gave Kaylee oxygen after she woke up.
Hull said Deputy Fire Chief Richard Doty was in the area and came to the pool to help until an ambulance crew arrived. Kaylee was conscious again by the time Doty and the crew reached the scene, minutes after the call.
“Had Morgan reacted a few seconds later, this story could have ended quite differently,” Hull said. “She and other guards are typically responsible for watching a few hundred kids at a time, but they remain alert and aware of what was going on in the water at all times. Saving someone’s life and assisting in doing so are heroic acts, and we applaud you.”
Kaylee and her family attended the governing body meeting, and the girl, appearing recovered, gave Maas flowers and a hug.
“I’m really proud of the Aquatics Division and all the training they gave us,” Maas said. “And I’m just glad God’s hand is at Haynes Pool.”
The other lifeguards who helped were Robby De Pasquele; Elena Martinescu, who was off duty but at the pool; Jeremiah Jenkins; Esther Johnson; Sarah Mauk; and Raquela Divett.
Mark Howell, Kaylee’s grandfather, said he was proud of the response of the lifeguards and emergency medical staff.
“The on-scene commander was there in moments,” he said.
Kaylee’s mother, Sara Webb, said they took Kaylee swimming again with a life vest earlier last week, and she didn’t show any fear of the water.
“We’re so thankful for Morgan, and we’re so thankful (Kaylee’s) OK,” Webb said.
Kaylee smiled and hugged Maas’s leg.
“I missed you,” she told Maas.