Apr 2, 2014
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California  Gov. Brown and Brigadier General James Gabrieli of the California National Guard honor a 16-year-old Richmond girl for her recent bravery.

California Gov. Brown (middle) and Brigadier General James Gabrieli of the California National Guard present an award to 16-year-old Breonna Williams.

A quick-thinking 16-year-old Richmond girl recently received a commendation from Gov Jerry Brown for performing CPR on an overdosing woman near her Oakland high school.

On March 13 about 5:30 p.m., Breonna Williams was waiting for her mother, Ebony Holbert, to pick her up after her soccer game when a man ran out of a nearby home on Apgar Street begging for help and saying 911 was busy.

“His roommate was overdosing and he did not know what to do,” Williams said. “I stepped up and offered to help. I told the man I know CPR and I was certified. Then, I ran into the house with the school security guard following me and I immediately performed CPR.”

Williams, who learned CPR at her high school, the Oakland Military Institute, remained poised during the grim episode.

“The woman was laying face up on the floor, and she was turning blue around her mouth and hands,” Williams said. “After doing multiple chest compressions while her roommate did mouth to mouth, pills and blood appeared in the woman’s mouth. This caused the roommate to panic even more so he poured water on her calling out her name. Still no response from the woman. Then the security guard and I both dialed 911 and emergency services were there in minutes. Unfortunately, the woman did not make it.”

Williams said she took the death hard.

“I felt I could have done more,” Williams said.

But her selfless act did not go unnoticed. The following week, Gov. Brown and Brigadier General James Gabrieli of the California National Guard presented Williams with an award for her act of bravery. She was also named cadet athlete of the week at her school.

Williams’ mother couldn’t be more proud.

“I am very impressed with the young lady she is becoming,” Holbert said. “She is very thoughtful, clever, caring…she puts the needs of another above her own. Although the outcome was not favorable, it was a blessing she was in the right place at the right time and not afraid.”

(An earlier version of this story offered an incorrect location of where Williams’ brave incident occurred.)

A brave Richmond girl was honored last month for performing CPR on an overdosing woman in Alameda on March 13.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.