“I did my job, and I went home:” Racine Corrections Officer credited with saving inmate’s life

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RACINE COUNTY (WITI) -- A call for help and a rush to action. A Racine County Corrections Officer did not hesitate to go into a cell to help an inmate.

At the Racine County Jail, each day brings new surprises.

"There is no average day in the jail. There's no exact job duty. It's all encompassing," Racine County Corrections Officer Jared Guillien said.

An evening in March brought the unexpected for Guillien.

"It`s not something I would ever imagine. It`s not something I would ever expect. I overheard on the intercom in the floor below me -- an inmate shouting that he's choking," Guillien said.

Without hesitation, Guillien ran to the cell and saw an inmate laying on the ground.

"When you walk in there, you`re looking at the inmate who`s in trouble. You`re scanning the room to make sure there`s no possible threats or deception going on," Guillien said.

"He essentially stepped into the lion`s den," Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said.

"I asked him if he was choking. He shook his head 'yes,'" Guillien said.

The inmate was struggling for air -- choking on an orange.

"I asked him if he could breathe. He shook his head 'no,'" Guillien said.

"He reacted very quickly to his training," Schmaling said.

"I helped him to his feet and administered the Heimlich maneuver," Guillien said.

Within minutes, the inmate could breathe.

"Putting his own safety aside and went in there and helped out a fellow human being and saved his life," Schmaling said.

"It`s a person`s life at stake and it doesn`t matter who that person is," Guillien said.

Guillien credits his training for helping him know exactly what to do.

"We have to act as fast as we can, while maintaining our safety," Guillien said.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling is calling Guillien a hero.

"Your quick actions ultimately opened the airways and saved this inmate's life," Schmaling said.

For that, Guillien received a lifesaving award.

It's an acknowledgement he takes with humility.

"It's humbling. It's definitely humbling. It was just another day. I did my job and went home," Guillien said.

Guillien is also a field training officer. He has turned his situation into a teaching tool to help officers in training to be ready for the unexpected.

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