Matthews Scout saved sister’s life

Providence High School freshman used rescue breathing, honored for heroism

by Josh Whitener

Alex Gonzalez accepts his certificate from Hannan with his mother and sister, Maya, 2, in the background. The teen is credited with using rescue breathing to save his sister’s life. Photos courtesy of Charlotte Fire Department

When his 2-year-old sister stopped breathing, Alex Gonzalez stepped in.

The 15-year-old is a member of Boy Scout Troop 39, based at Matthews United Methodist Church, and is being credited with using his Scout training to save the tot’s life. The family lives in south Charlotte and Gonzalez was honored recently by Charlotte Fire Chief Jon Hannan for his actions.

A Providence High School freshman, Gonzalez said he was outside at his home on East Providence Drive Saturday, March 17 when another younger sister frantically told him the news: Maya had collapsed inside.

Using his Scout training in CPR and first aid, Gonzalez performed rescue breathing on his sister and by the time Charlotte firefighters arrived, the toddler was responsive and breathing on her own. His rescue breathing saved Maya’s life, firefighters say. Maya, who’s recovered, stopped breathing after having a seizure.

Gonzalez is working toward Eagle Scout status and says Scouting prepared him for the emergency.

“Scouting teaches you that you have to remain calm,” he said. “You can’t lose your wits because then both (you and the victim) aren’t doing well.”

Hannan attended a Boy Scout Troop 39 meeting on May 7 at Matthews United Methodist Church to honor Gonzalez and present him with a certificate.

“The department is honored to recognize Alex for his actions that day,” Hannan said. “When faced with an emergency situation, he did everything right that certainly made a difference in saving his sister’s life.”

The teen was surprised and grateful.

“It just meant a lot that he would go out of his way, out of his working environment, to acknowledge me,” Gonzalez said.

He believes first aid education is essential, not just for Scouts, but for everyone.

“Anyone could be faced with this situation, not just a Scout,” he said.

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