Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2018

Currently: 58° — Complete forecast

SUN STANDOUT AWARDS:

Unsung Hero: Chely Arias, Cheyenne trainer

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Christopher DeVargas

Chely Arias

Chely Arias was faced with the most challenging possible situation shortly after starting her job as athletic trainer at Cheyenne High last fall. A Desert Shields flag football player, Kennedi Jones, had collapsed while warming up for practice and wasn’t breathing. Arias rushed to Jones on the practice field, but didn’t find a pulse.

Arias immediately started CPR and sent a player to retrieve emergency defibrillators, which she eventually used to revive Jones before an ambulance arrived. “I was there at the right place at the right time,” Arias says. “I was just doing my job, and acted the way I would have done for anyone else.”

Jones spent two weeks in the hospital before returning to school. Arias has been recognized with a few different honors for saving a life, but says the biggest reward was seeing Jones back on campus.

Arias worked at Cheyenne for a few more months after the incident before moving into a similar position at Arbor View. “When it comes down to it, I think of how much power I had over someone’s life,” Arias says. “You never know how much you can do for someone until they’re really dependent on you. I was out there trying the hardest I could to get her back and I didn’t stop until I was satisfied with the result.”

Finalists:

• Art Plunkett, Las Vegas High athletic director: Retired after 20 years with the program having helped turn the football team into a perennial power in the 1990s and becoming a beloved figure campus-wide.

• Justin Weber, Basic Academy facility maintenance: His bosses commended him for going “above and beyond” in preparing fields and gyms nightly for athletic competitions, where he almost always sticks around to cheer on the Wolves.

• Donna Young, Shadow Ridge athletic secretary: Served in almost every gameday role—banker, ticket-taker, security guard, etc.—based on nightly needs, in addition to working exhaustively in the athletic office.

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.