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A busy day



Cleto_sundy_chazares PLANT CITY — Cleto "Sundy" Chazares understands calm under pressure. That's standard operating procedure for a school principal.

But even Chazares, who heads the South County Career Center in Ruskin, got put to the test Friday. He delivered his new son, Alexy Giovanni, at 3:22 a.m. while waiting for paramedics to arrive at his home and by 1 p.m. he was toting sons Eryk and Christyan around Busch Gardens just to keep them out of his wife Miryam's hair.

"Overall, my friends and relatives see it as brave and courageous," said Chazares, 40, during a brief afternoon respite as the 2- and 4-year-old boys napped. "Working in a school, we have to be cool, calm and collected under fire. I think anybody would have done that for their significant other."

Things weren't supposed to be this way, though.

Alexy was not due in this world for another nine days. Grandma had not yet arrived from Miami. The family thought it had time to prepare.

But when babies want to make their debut, there's little their moms can do to stop them. And so when Miryam started feeling pains, despite her hopes that some rest and maybe a warm bath might slow things down, there was no stopping Alexy.

Chazares called his wife's on-call doctor, who urged him to call for an ambulance. While on the phone with the EMS operator, Chazares heard his wife announce, "I don't think I'm going anywhere."

The operator asked Chazares to check on Miryam. He didn't come back right away. He heard from the phone, "Sir? Are you still there?"

"I said, 'I've got the baby,'" he related. "'I need coaching on what to do next.'"

He used a shoelace to tie off the umbilical cord. He checked on whether his wife's placenta was out. He covered the baby with a blanket. And he waited for the ambulance.

A few hours later, Chazares took Eryk and Christyan to the hospital to see mom and baby. Christyan grew bored. Eryk was jealous.

He urged them to go to Busch Gardens with their grandmother, who made it to town in the meantime. Not without you, Daddy, they replied.

So while Miryam and Alexy rested, Chazares and the boys exhausted themselves riding the theme park train and checking out the animals in the 90-degree heat.

"There is no doubt in my mind now that I have done everything there is to do in life," said Chazares, who has been a migrant farm worker, a junior high dropout, a gang member, a high school track star and a successful educator, among other things. "I am full of joy. I am full of happiness."

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:19am]


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