South Dade principal thanks firefighters, trauma team for rescue

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - After the remarkable recovery of South Dade Principal Javier Perez, the educator met with the trauma team that saved his life.

Warm applause met Perez as he wheeled into Kendall Regional Medical Center, Friday morning, to meet with the people behind his recovery after he had both his legs amputated.

Perez, however, quickly shifted the focus of the news conference to those responsible for saving his life. “I was just a patient. There wasn’t much I could do, so I think they’re the ones that, if we could give a round of applause,” he said.

7News cameras captured one of the surgeons embracing Javier. “It’s good to see you, Javier,” said the doctor.

“I’m alive, so I’m pretty happy,” said a cheerful Perez. “I mean, it was amazing. The whole time, through, I can’t even express it, even right now.”

According to police, 51-year-old Marilyn Aguilera was allegedly driving drunk when she struck Perez, who was coaching a little league game for his son at Tamiami Park, in West Miami-Dade, April 26.

The principal ended up under Aguilera’s SUV.

Fire rescue officials who were on the scene were also present at Kendall Regional. “Luckily, by the grace of God, or a miracle, the car actually hit an embankment,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue official Karen Rios. “He was under the car, but he was not pinned.”

Rios said it is fortunate Perez survived, and no one else got hurt. “He is very, very lucky he was able to make it through this because the extent of damage to the car, and the way that it hit and avoided all the children that were on the field, it was actually a very, very lucky day that there were not more patients,” she said.

Perez underwent 21 surgeries, with more than 100 blood transfusions.

Doctors said they are stunned by Perez’s recovery. “In 25 years, treating on average 4,000 patients a year, we’ve never had a survivor with this level of shock,” said one surgeon.

“The amount of work they did on me, pretty much, the first month, I was in and out,” said Perez. “I don’t remember much of that. Coming to afterwards, just hearing the stories and the amount of people that have helped me be where I am today is incredible, and I want to thank you for that.”

Maytee Perez, Javier’s wife, said the timing of everything could not have been more perfect. “It’s perfect, right before Thanksgiving,” she said. “You know, we’ve had conversations, like he said, about being grateful and blessed and thankful. It’s perfect that they’re here.”

The South Dade principal said he told his wife one thing throughout the process. “I said, ‘I wish we could go see the firefighters, talk to them.’ I think this is amazing. Right before Thanksgiving, we got to get together with everybody that has made it possible for me to be here today, alive, and I want to thank you for that.”

Tears streamed down Perez’s cheeks as a doctor presented him with a medal of bravery. As the crowd once again broke into applause, he took off his glasses and wiped away those tears.

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