August 26, 2019, might have been just another workday for Hector Camacho and his City of Millbrae Public Works co-worker, Evan Ramirez, but an accident at the end of the day made it one to remember.
“We were getting off work and it happened right by the freeway on-ramp,” said Hector. Hector and Evan were returning to the Public Works corporation yard with the intention of going home for the day when they saw a car collide with a bicyclist. “We saw it unravel and there was nothing we could do to stop it.”
After the accident, Hector, Evan, and their co-workers, Kevin Matlock, Brad Rosinski, and Vince Masetti jumped into a series of actions that lasted less than 20 minutes but saved the bicyclist’s life.
“We parked our truck and ran over to see if there was anything we could do,” explained Hector. “Once we established that the guy was okay, we set up cones and Evan called Brad over because he is an EMT.”
The accident took place right outside the corporation yard, so Brad who was in the yard was able to rush right out and help. “The guy was trying to get up and walk around, so I told him to sit down and stay still and that the ambulance would be right there,” said Brad.
Because of his EMT training, Brad knew to use C-spine precautions to keep the injured man’s spine in place and in line. “I asked his name and if he remembered what happened. He was talking fine and breathing,” he said.
While Brad was keeping the man safe from further injuring his spine, Vince and Kevin arrived on the scene. They were returning to work to end their day as well when they saw their co-workers.
“I grabbed the first aid kit from our truck,” said Vince who is also a trained EMT. “There was a pool of blood leaking from his arm and leg. I used the gauze and focused on his arm because his leg wasn’t bleeding the way his arm was.”
And while Brad and Vince tended to the man’s injuries, Hector, Kevin, and Evan kept the bicyclist safe from other cars by setting up cones to close off the freeway on-ramp and directing traffic around the accident. They also guided the emergency vehicles in and out of the scene.
For this group of Teamsters, the actions they took felt like second nature. They are all maintenance workers in the city’s Public Works department. Hector, Evan, and Brad work in the Collections Division while Kevin and Vince work in the Water Division.
“In Collections, we do a lot of sewer maintenance which involves us in the middle of the street cleaning from manhole to manhole so we’re pretty much always in traffic,” explained Hector.
“We’re responders,” said Kevin. “When there’s flooding, accidents, or trees falling down, our job is to respond to those emergencies and fix them. We’re kind of unknown. We don’t have badges. We’re unseen, but we always respond. We’re the ones they call when something needs to get done. We take care of the city and everyone in it.”
And on August 26th, this team of guys proved their city can always count on them.
“Local 856 represents many public sector workers in a variety of job classifications up and down the peninsula,” said Teamsters 856 Representative Mark Leach. “Like the Millbrae crews, they are all very loyal to the districts, cities, and residents they serve. The city of Millbrae is fortunate to have such skilled and dedicated workers maintaining the streets and water systems while looking out for the well-being of the residents.”
For their quick and heroic action, they each received commendations from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Millbrae at a barbecue luncheon in the corporation yard. And while they appreciate the recognition, it’s clear these Local 856 members would do the same thing every time recognition or not.
“I’m proud of everybody I work with,” explained Kevin. “We operate as a team even in our different divisions. We didn’t think of ourselves, but of making sure everyone was safe and that this guy got the right care.”
When asked why he jumped into action, Brad summed it up: “It was the right thing to do.”