HU Student Athlete Saves Baby’s Life at Rec Center

Jazmine Harge 

Jazmine Harge

Las Vegas, N.M. —  Analee Garcia will celebrate her second birthday August 22, thanks to a New Mexico Highlands University student athlete who used CPR to save the baby’s life.

Jazmine Harge, a 20-year-old volleyball middle hitter, was on lifeguard duty at the Las Vegas Abe Montoya Recreation Center on March 13 when the urgent summons came that someone in the pool’s viewing room needed CPR.

Harge looked around for an adult and was startled when she was handed an unconscious 18-month-old baby who wasn’t breathing. She gently laid the baby on a counter, checked her air passages, and went to work administering CPR.

“All that mattered to me was to get her breathing again and it took six CPR cycles,” Harge said. “I stayed calm and followed the CPR procedures from all my training at the rec center. I was zoned into what I needed to do and blocked out everything else.

“You don’t always get a second chance in life and I’m very grateful I had the opportunity to give Analee a second chance. I’m not a hero but I’m so glad I did my job and she’s alive,” Harge said.

Harge has worked at the rec center since 2010 and is certified in CPR, first aid, and as a lifeguard. She teaches swimming and water aerobics. Previously, she was a wellness technician and counselor in the summer youth camp.  

Analee was her youngest rec center customer.

“I had a feeling Analee was in good hands when Jazmine stepped up and helped her,” said Las Vegas native Alyssa Valencia, the child’s mother. “She knew exactly what to do and was very calm when she gave Analee CPR. I’m so thankful for all Jazmine did and thank God for her.”

When the paramedics arrived after Harge resuscitated Analee, they noted her strong vital signs and said she’d probably had a seizure.  

Albert Tafoya is the wellness supervisor at the rec center and is Harge’s supervisor. While CPR certification only requires training every two years, he conducts quarterly trainings with his lifeguards. He taught a refresher class the week before Harge saved Analee’s life.

“I’m so proud of Jazmine because she did exactly what she was trained to do,” Tafoya said. “Even highly trained individuals don’t always have the mental toughness Jazmine showed.

“At the rec center, Jazmine takes the initiative, has excellent customer service skills, a strong work ethic, and is a real team player. She’s very dedicated,” Tafoya said.

After Harge saved Analee, it struck her that the baby is nearly the same age as her niece, Aariyah.

“It really hit home then what I’d done. When I saw Aariyah, I gave her an extra big hug and said, ‘I saved someone like you,'” Harge said.

Valencia said Analee is healthy, active and back to doing the things she loves.

“It makes me so happy to see Analee laughing, running, climbing the slide at the park, and riding horses with her grandfather. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing Analee will celebrate another birthday and many more to come. It means the world to me that she’s OK,” Valencia said.

At Highlands, the 5′ 10″ Harge stands out on the volleyball court and in the classroom. She enjoys the friendly campus environment.

She’s studying science courses and is interested in the medical profession, where she can help those in need.