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Oro Valley police officers awarded for saving life of Tucson recruiter

By Alun Thomas U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion - Phoenix

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It was a routine day for Sgt. 1st Class Todd Miller, as he drove to the Foothills Recruiting Station, on the morning of July 18, 2018.

The day quickly became anything other than normal however – while stopped at a red light, he suffered a heart attack at the wheel, causing him to lose consciousness and collide with another vehicle.

Miller, Foothills station commander, was unresponsive, draped over his steering wheel, in a desperate fight for his life.

Upon receiving a report of the incident, three police officers with the Oro Valley Police Department stepped into action, Sgt. Robert Goddard, Officer Donald Topar and Officer Jacob Taylor.

Upon arriving at the scene first, Taylor was forced to break a window to the vehicle, where he quickly found the unresponsive Miller and began administering chest compressions.

Goddard and Topar arrived on the scene shortly afterwards. Taylor continued to administer chest compressions, as Topar prepared Miller for an Automated External Defibrillator.

The AED was utilized successfully and indicated chest compressions were still needed. All three officers took turns administering compressions until medical personnel arrived and took over patient care.

The combined effort of the three men had saved Miller’s life.

Their efforts were recognized at the Oro Valley Police Department Awards Ceremony, April 12, El Conquistador Hilton, Tucson, where they were presented with the Army Commander’s Award for Public Service Medal, by Brig. Gen. Kevin Vereen, deputy commanding general, United States Army Recruiting Command.

During his remarks, Vereen said he was reminded of the words spoken by former President Calvin Coolidge: “Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion.”

“I have seen many heroic actions, but as a Military Police Officer and Soldier, I know that anyone is capable of heroic action when confronted with the opportunity,” Vereen said. “No one seeks out these opportunities, because times when heroism is shown, are also times of great fear.

Vereen said police and first responders, as well as Soldiers who truly serve unselfishly, are always doing their job, serving their neighbors, the community, and fellow Americans, understanding the inherent dangers and requirements that come with the job.

“We are lucky that Sergeant Goddard, Officer Topar, and Officer Taylor were on duty that day, because their heroic actions saved a life,” he said. “You were there at that specific time and place, because someone would need your service that day.”

“Without their teamwork, quick thinking, and decisive actions it is unlikely that Sergeant 1st Class Miller would be sitting here today with his wife, Amanda, and children, Donovan and Irelyn. He is expected to make a full recovery,” Vereen continued.

Speaking directly to the officers, Vereen said not only did they have a tremendous impact on Miller and his family, but their actions impacted our country’s national security.

“You can’t have national security without Soldiers and it’s a recruiters job to find the best and the brightest to join the United States Army,” Vereen said. “By saving his life, you’ve contributed greatly to the Army’s recruiting mission, because as a 79R, which is a professional recruiter, Sergeant Miller is considered an expert in Army Recruiting.”

By saving his life, his impact on the command and the mission as the Foothills Station Commander and his service to our country will continue because of you, Vereen said.

“I’m sure I can speak for the Miller family and the United States Recruiting Command that we are forever grateful for these officers,” he continued. “The Army is fortunate that our recruiters serving in this area have a safe place to call home for themselves and their families.”

Vereen then thanked the officers on behalf of Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, commanding general, USAREC, before presenting the officers their medals.