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Sheriff's detective receives Red Cross award for saving the life of Orcutt toddler

Sheriff's detective receives Red Cross award for saving the life of Orcutt toddler

Detective Christopher MacAuley

From left, American Red Cross Central California Region CEO Tony Briggs presented Detective Chris MacAuley with the Red Cross Lifesaving Award with the help of Red Cross Board Chairman Robert Rauchhaus on Tuesday. 

A Santa Barbara County detective was awarded Tuesday for his efforts in saving the life of a 1-year-old child in Orcutt last June, a Sheriff's Office spokesman said. 

Detective Christopher MacAuley received the American Red Cross Lifesaving Award during a ceremony at Sheriff's Office headquarters attended by family, friends and co-workers. 

American Red Cross Central California Region CEO Tony Briggs and board chair Robert Rauchhaus, along with Sheriff Bill Brown, presented MacAuley with the award for his June 21, 2019, actions on that saved the child's life, spokesman Erik Raney said. 

MacAuley, a 10-year Sheriff's Office veteran who is stationed at the Santa Maria Substation, was patrolling the 3300 block of Orcutt Road when he was flagged down by a distraught father carrying his limp 1-year-old child, Raney said.  

After determining the child was unconscious and not breathing, Raney said, MacAuley relied on his first responder training and quickly administered back blows, chest compressions and an airway finger sweep on the child. 

After the finger sweep, MacAuley dislodged a small piece of plastic the child had ingested, Raney said. 

Raney added that MacAuley's timely actions allowed the child to breathe and quickly recover, and were instrumental in saving the child's life. 

MacAuley said he'd never seen a look as horrifying as the face of the father when he handed his child to him. 

"I am just glad that I was there and able to get the child breathing again," MacAuley said. "I am [as] relieved as the father." 

Go through this collection of our 'Stories of Honor' profiles

'Stories of Honor' is a series spotlighting veterans on the Central Coast, their lives, and their contributions to our country. Take a look through this collection of stories and get to know some of the heroes in our community. 

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In 1968, Roger Welt was an Army combat correspondent at the height of the Vietnam War. Welt’s job was to document warfare under the auspices of the U.S. Army. It might sound like Full Metal Jacket, but Welt said he always felt like Charlie Sheen's disillusioned dropout in Platoon.

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Jim Kunkle’s military service during World War II turned him into a celebrity. Kunkle was a P-38 fighter pilot who fought German Luftwaffe over Nazi-occupied Europe and was shot down during a dogfight. But not before downing some enemy aircraft in the process, which later earned him a Distinguished Service Cross (that’s one step below the Medal of Honor).


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