NMOTC Sailors (1 from PAXRVR) Awarded for Saving Lives


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Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Lieberknecht

PENSACOLA, Fla. (May 13, 2019) - Two Sailors assigned to detachments of Navy Medicine Operational Training Center (NMOTC) were recently recognized for life-saving actions outside their line of duty.

Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 2nd Class Destanie Gardner and Special Warfare Operator 2"d Class Ryan Finn, stationed at Aviation Survival Training Center (ASTC) Patuxent River, Md. and Naval Special Operations Medical Institute (NSOMI) in Fort Bragg, N.C. respectively, were each awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for immediate heroic actions which saved lives.

"We are proud and grateful for the opportunity to recognize our Sailors' lifesaving efforts," said Capt. Theron Toole, commanding officer of NMOTC. "A central theme of NMOTC's missions is saving lives and these two Sailors demonstrated they are prepared to care for others whether it be down the street or downrange."

On March 26th, Finn responded to a patient who was experiencing cardiac arrest while on a rooftop in Camden, N.J. Upon arriving on scene, Finn quickly found a ladder and climbed up the garage, quickly identifying the man's symptoms and performed immediate life-saving interventions which brought back the patient's pulse, being ultimately critical in saving the man's life.

On April 14, Gardner, while at a department store in California, Md., witnessed an elderly lady begin to collapse.

"As I was passing the pharmacy section, I saw a woman who seemed a little off so I gave her a second look and noticed that she was beginning to fall into a shelf in the middle of the aisle," said Gardner. "Her eyes were starting to roll towards the back of her head, at which time she had also began to fall backwards."

Gardner and another bystander lowered to woman to the floor and onto her side. With no pulse or signs of breathing present, Gardner performed CPR until the woman regained her ability to breathe unassisted. Local emergency responders took the woman to a nearby hospital where the patient made a full recovery.

"To be honest, in that moment it did not occur to me as a choice, much less even a second thought," said Gardner. "She needed help and I happened to be the one to recognize that."

Gardner explained that without training she received from the Navy, she wouldn't be able to help the woman.

"Prior to joining the Navy I did not know how to give CPR," said Gardner. "Thanks to it being a mandatory requirement every two years, I now know how to properly provide CPR."

NMOTC is part of a healthcare network of Navy medical professionals around the world whom provide high-quality healthcare to more than 1 million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ships, in the air, under the sea, and on the battlefield.
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