Oak Harbor officer earns life-saving award

Apolice officer was awarded the department’s life saving award on Monday for saving an infant’s life.

An Oak Harbor police officer was awarded the department’s life saving award on Monday for saving an infant’s life.

On Aug. 25 last year, dispatch sent Officer Claire Herrera to respond to a medical call at an Oak Harbor residence, where 1-year-old William Belanger was unresponsive, not breathing and CPR had been initiated. Herrera arrived before emergency medical services to find Belanger seizing and unable to breathe due to an obstructed airway.

Herrera didn’t hesitate. She performed life-saving maneuvers, cleared the infant’s airway and administered crucial first aid before emergency medical services arrived.

“Listening to the 911 tape where the mother is talking about the infant turning blue, the mother is unable to provide life saving measures just because of her ability and being scared for her child,” Police Chief Tony Slowik said at Monday’s city council meeting. “It really is the dedication in that response that Officer Herrera has changed this child’s life.”

According to the plaque, Officer Herrera’s prompt and decisive actions exemplify the highest standards of professionalism and heroism, showcasing the vital role our law enforcement plays in preserving and protecting the well-being of our community members. The department presents the life saving award to any member whose actions directly contribute to saving or significantly prolonging a human life.

After reading the plaque, Slowik handed it to Herrera and pinned a commendation bar on her breast pocket.

“I spoke to the mother of the infant on Friday, and she was very grateful for the response of Officer Herrera,” he said.

Herrera was grateful for the opportunity to help, she said.

“When I entered law enforcement as a career, my hope was to be able to make a difference,” she said. “It’s a privilege to do it here in Oak Harbor.”

Officer Claire Herrera displays the life saving award, which she received on Monday from the Oak Harbor Police Department. (Photo by Sam Fletcher)
Oak Harbor Police Chief Tony Slowik (left) pins a commendation bar on Officer Claire Herrera's uniform for saving a child's life. (Photo courtesy of the City of Oak Harbor)
Members of the Oak Harbor police department show support to Officer Claire Herrera (middle), who earned the life saving award on Monday.