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Dept of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County Aquatics Staff Save Prominent Pastor’s Life

The aquatics staff of M-NCPPC, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County rescued a prominent area pastor when he had a heart attack on May 12, 2021 in the pool at Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, Maryland.

Accustomed to rescuing parishioners from their troubles, Rev. Dr. Earl D. Trent, Jr., who is senior pastor of Florida Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, DC, found himself in need of rescue during his regular weekly swim at Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex. Trent has served as senior pastor of Florida Avenue Baptist Church since 1995. He is a proud resident of Prince George’s County.

Though athletic all his life, Rev. Trent had a cardiac emergency in the pool. The lifeguard on duty, Miguel Vargas, noticed Trent unconscious in the water and staff enacted the facility’s Emergency Action Plan. Vargas entered the water and extricated Trent to a safe location. Initially without a pulse, Trent was assisted by a five-person team who administered CPR and used an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to deliver a shock to his chest. Showing subtle signs of life, Rev. Trent was aided by the same staff until paramedics arrived to provide further medical care.

Aquatics staff Sydnee Minor, Marcus Brown and Robert White alongside Assistant Field House Manager, Jonathan Cabatbat were also critical in the heroism displayed that day. “It was a whole team approach in rescuing me,” said Rev. Trent, “Their training kicked in. It was seamless, and that’s why I’m here today.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.

Need for Additional Lifeguards

Lifeguard shortages are area wide and having trained aquatics staff at the ready for emergencies in its facilities is a Department priority. To meet those challenges, the Department is making aggressive efforts to recruit lifeguards for training and American Red Cross (ARC) certification. The Department is an ARC training provider. Lifeguard hiring is currently underway with pay at $15 per hour or more (depending on experience), flexible work schedules, free uniforms, and additional perks. Interested persons are strongly encouraged to apply here.

Lifeguard Marcus Brown reflected on why he chose the noble profession, “I wanted to give back to the community… to provide great care. You are leaving a mark in the community. It’s a great job.”

Assistant Field House Manager, Jonathan Cabatbat emphasized that career interest in any aspect of the medical field is bolstered by a start as a lifeguard. He said that being a lifeguard provides the basic skills to progress toward the medical field and “it can be used on your resume for that future job in medicine.”

Lifeguard Sydnee Minor added, “To someone who is thinking of joining our team, I encourage you to do it. It is moments like this that make it very special. You truly are guarding lives.” She concluded, “I helped save a life, and that’s something I’ll never forget.”

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