USMC Sgt. Marcus Santana of Flanders came to the rescue of an elderly woman who suffered a medical emergency as she was crossing Flanders Road Tuesday.

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.”

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.