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Near tragedy drives home drinking dangers
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Police chaplain and senior pastor Joey Macias introduces EMT Angela Ott and a 2012 high school graduate she saved from sure death following a graduation party. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Life saving memories and fleeting words of caution are often shared at the Every 15 Minutes program every year during the two-day event at Manteca High’s Gus Schmiedt Field.  This year was no different.

The story of a 2012 high school senior who had never taken an alcoholic drink in her life and nearly died during a party at the home of a friend was shared with those attending.  It was a freak accident after she had taken a drink and became dizzy – unconditioned to drinking.

Joey Macias, police chaplain and a Senior Pastor of the Christian Worship Center on Button Avenue, called the victim and EMT Angela Ott up to the lectern.  He explained that when she passed out her face went into the wash basin that was filled with water and was near death when Ott arrived on the scene. Ott worked feverishly to save her life with other medics.

After a lengthy hospital stay the girl was taken to a rehabilitation center where she was taught to walk and to talk all over again to the point she has reached today being much of her old self. She has never taken a drink again.

Every 15 minutes goes the extra mile to impact current upper class members to take notice of actually what can happen to them when students get involved in party celebrations at the end of their high school years. 

Straight A student Christina Arcos from East Union had to brave possible ridicule and humiliation as she faced her peers from five high schools cuffed and shackled in an orange prisoner’s jump suit.

Arcos had at least two sleep interrupted nights thinking about what was to come in her arrest.

The E-15 team that puts on the program and creates a CD of the event for students meets as an active committee all year long at the Manteca District Ambulance office on North Street.  The team includes law enforcement agencies, highway patrolmen and City of Manteca officers spending countless hours to perfect the event for area students.

The Manteca Unified School District Health Services Office headed by Caroline Thibodeau works quietly in the wings to help guarantee the success of the program. 

Not really acknowledged for their part in the memorial are the students and parents who went to the microphone to read emotional letters to their parents and parents to their deceased children. 

Charla Ortiz and Ken Summers of P.L. Fry & Son Mortuary put in a lot of professional time to guarantee a perfect mock memorial service two weeks ago.