Two Visalia police officers honored for saving lives


Visalia Police Chief Colleen Mestas awarded Sergeants Mark Feller and James Andrews medals during a city council meeting.

"We don't expect it, we don't want it. I'm not one for attention to begin with, however, it's nice to know that you've made a difference," Andrews said.

"I feel like I'm just doing my job, it's really nice to be honored like this, but ultimately I'm just humbled by it," Feller said.

Andrews was given the awarded based on his actions on Aug. 23. Roxanna Pugh, was 22-months-old at the time, accidently fell into the swimming pool.

"I was bending over to pick a diaper up and I had right next to me and I turned around and she was already descending into the bottom of the pool," Roxanna's mother, Miranda, said. She dove in after Roxanna and pulled her from the pool but she was non-responsive.

Andrews was the first to arrive on scene and he performed CPR on the Roxanna.

"After about six to eight minutes, I was still performing CPR and I got her to start breathing and get a pulse back so it was overwhelming," Andrews said.

The Pughs attended Monday night's award ceremony, holding Roxanna, who recently turned two years old. They say Andrews is a hero because if it wasn't for him, they wouldn't have their daughter anymore.

"He went way above duty," Roxanna's father, Steven Pugh said. "He did his job and more. I mean he did everything he could. He didn't want her to go because he knew she meant so much to us."

Andrews say he's kept in touch with Roxanna and her family since the incident.

"I went up to Valley Children's and spent her second birthday with her," Andrews said. "The family invited me so it was really, really nice."

Feller earned his award for his actions on Jul. 21.

He responded to a traffic accident on Woodland Ave. and Main St. and saw a Dodge Durango that had crashed into a tree. The driver was trapped underneath the SUV and the vehicle started to catch on fire.

"I got there and I saw what I needed to be done. I didn't give it much thought," Feller said. "I realized this person couldn't move couldn't get away…couldn't get out from underneath the truck and I pulled him away."

The man he saved couldn't make it to the ceremony, but his mother attended to say thank you on his behalf. His mother, Olivia Morales, said there are no words to describe what Feller did.

"He's more than a hero, he's angel, really as I'm far as I'm concerned," Morales said. "He was there at the right time, the right place and because of him my son is still breathing."

Feller is on his 16th year with the Visalia Police Department. Andrews has been with the department for 13 years.

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