The U.S. Marine Corps sergeant stopped his truck to let an elderly woman cross Flanders Road Tuesday. When the woman “lost her footing, fell and smacked her face into the ground,” right in front of him, Sgt. Marcus Santana put his truck in park, leapt out and ran to her aid.
She was unresponsive and had no pulse, apparently the victim of a stroke or seizure.
Santana performed CPR he learned as a Marine. He cleared her airway and started doing chest compressions.
“She started to come back,” Santana said. “I maintained it until EMTs arrived.”
Santana took it in stride. In fact, to hear the young Marine sergeant tell it, in a quiet, matter-of-fact voice, you’d think something like that happens every day.
“That’s how they train us to react to chaos,” Santana said. “You don’t run away from it.”
But it wasn’t a typical drive to work.
Southampton Police told Santana his actions “played a crucial part in saving the woman’s life,” he said. “I was just glad to be at the right place at the right time. “If it was my grandma, I would want someone to stop and help her.”
Santana, who will turn 27 on Sunday, is a 2012 Riverhead High School graduate. The Flanders resident joined the Marines four and a half years ago, “when I realized I needed a life change,” he said.
And change his life it did.
Santana deployed to the Middle East and after he returned to the States, became a recruiter.
“It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had,” he said. “I love changing lives, especially in the town I grew up in.” He enjoys mentoring the young recruits, being a role model to them, a big brother, he said.
“When they go down to boot camp and come back as Marines and put their photos up on my wall,” Santana said, “it’s the best feeling.”
We need your help.
Now more than ever, the survival of quality local journalism depends on your support. Our community faces unprecedented economic disruption, and the future of many small businesses are under threat, including our own. It takes time and resources to provide this service. We are a small family-owned operation, and we will do everything in our power to keep it going. But today more than ever before, we will depend on your support to continue. Support RiverheadLOCAL today. You rely on us to stay informed and we depend on you to make our work possible.