Quick-thinking heroes save co-worker's life • by Sandra Carr
Posted on 08/10/2022
Four people pose for a photo

At the end of July, a heroic team sprang into action after Custodial Crew Leader Ramon Cortes suffered a heart attack and collapsed in the Orange Technical College’s main campus lobby. 

Nelson Pinder, the school’s administrative dean, jumped into action and helped his ill co-worker. First, he told a staff member to call 911 and another to inform OTC’s faculty nurses about the emergency.

Next, Pinder performed chest compressions on Cortes until the registered nurses arrived.

University High School’s Practical Nursing Instructor Danielle Jones and Orange Technical College’s Practical Nursing Instructors Karen O’Brien and Nancy Welch, who is OCPS’ Teacher of the Year, took over and provided Cortes with emergency care.

Welch performed CPR while Jones and O’Brien both used the automated external defibrillator on Cortes to restart his heart before the paramedics arrived and transported him to Orlando Health.

Thanks to Pinder and the nurses’ life-saving efforts, Cortes was discharged from the hospital and has been recovering at home. 

“I appreciate everyone at Orange Technical College and the paramedics and hospital staff for saving my life,” said Cortes.

Last night, Pinder, Welch, O’Brien and Jones were recognized for their heroism during the Orange County School Board meeting. Cortes was in attendance and happy to thank three of his lifesavers in person since his medical emergency.

“I’m extremely grateful that Nelson Pinder, Nancy Welch, Karen O’Brien and Danielle Jones were able to respond quickly and save Ramon’s life,” said Melanie Stefanowicz, OCPS’ associate superintendent of Career and Technical Education. “I appreciate their strength, courage and professionalism as they truly believe in service above self.”