Even 14 years in the military and 13 years of law enforcement experience couldn’t prepare Felix Vargas for the call he responded to on Sept. 8, 2017.
And elderly man had fallen off a tractor and was caught in a tiller that mangled and sliced his legs. Sgt. Vargas and Officer Jennifer Edmonds were the first responders on the scene and, having just received National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians training a month earlier, knew to apply tourniquets to both legs to stop the massive flow of blood. Their quick thinking and rapid response saved the life of Lewis Brown and earned the Fulshear police officers lifesaving awards.
“Everything fell into place that day,” Vargas said. “We had great response from fire, EMS and Life Flight.”
Brown, who was helping his nephew Stanley Brown till the ground, survived the incident but lost his right leg. He returned at the end of December to thank the officers for saving his life.
“It was such a great feeling to get that award and see him again,” Vargas said.
The journey to his job in Fulshear was a long one for Vargas, 45. He was born and raised in the Sugar Land and Stafford area. He attended Dulles High School and graduated in 1991. He went into the Navy and served for eight years, training to handle aviation ordinance. He was stationed in Seattle, where he met and married his wife Angelina.
After 10 years in Seattle, Vargas moved back to Texas and attended the police academy at the University of Houston. In 2004 he joined the Rosenberg Police Department. He left that department in 2011 and joined the Army National Guard. He was gone for six months in training. When he returned he joined Fulshear as a patrol officer.
During the past several years his family had miraculously grown. When he and Angelina first tried to have children, a doctor told them it was impossible. So they looked into fostering children. They went through the training and were a week away from flying back to Seattle to bring home a newborn when Angelina got pregnant. Now, five children later, they are unable to conceive again. They never did foster any children and that turned out to be better for the baby they were to get who was being cared for by someone who wanted it.
Not only has his family grown, but so has the department he works for and the community he serves. When he first came to Fulshear, there were six people on the force. Today there are 22 and more hires are coming. Fulshear has been exploding in size with the annexation of Cross Creek Ranch and rapid development along FM 1093 and FM 1463.
After going through three floods in the last three years and then the incident with Brown last fall, Vargas said he would like to shift his career into emergency management. He has an associate’s degree from Wharton County Junior College and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston. He said he would like to get a master’s degree in emergency management and already has 300 training hours with FEMA.
“It’s a good feeling when you can make people safe,” he said.