Hospital Corpsmen Recognized by American Red Cross

Hospital Corpsmen Recognized by American Red Cross

Four staff members assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) were recognized as 2013 Recipients of the Military Hero Award at the 14th Annual Red Cross West Sound Real Heroes Breakfast May 9.

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Blake Hite, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Patrick Barrantes, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Binod Gurung and Hospitalman Scott Childress were honored, along with seven other West Sound residents at the event that drew a packed-crowd of civic and community leaders from throughout the greater Kitsap Peninsula.

“They all knew exactly what to do when needed. They set the example for others,” said Dawn Angelo, American Red Cross regional chief executive officer.

The corpsmen’s recognition was a direct result of their quick-thinking and on-time assistance at the Olympic Sports and Soccer Center during a regular season indoor soccer game. Just as they were getting ready for their upcoming game, they noticed that a gentleman on another, adjacent field of play appeared injured, which was nothing out of the ordinary in any city-league soccer contest. When the man didn’t seem to be responding, the corpsmen immediately realized that the situation was more severe than just a simple sprain or minor injury.

“We kept watching and decided it looked pretty bad, so we ran over,” said Hite, adding that when they got to the man, someone else was already performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The four took over and continued applying CPR until the paramedics arrived on the scene to take over.

After the emergency medical technicians (EMTs) shocked the man with an automated external defibrillator (AED) twice, they eventually got a pulse and transported him to Harrison Medical Center for further treatment. The story ends sadly however. Despite the CPR ministrations by the corpsmen and others, and the continued care by the EMTs, the gentlemen did not survive.

“Doing something is better than doing nothing,” Hite said, noting that of the 60 to 70 people in the Center than evening, only a few responded to the incident. “Hopefully this incident will encourage more people to get trained in CPR.”

“The corpsmen of Naval Hospital went out of their way to bring safety and provide help to someone in distress. They are trained to respond in a crisis and that’s exactly what they did,” stated the honorable Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent.

“Petty Officers Barrantes, Hite, Gurung and Hospitalman Childress exemplify the incredible instincts of first responders. Many of us are at a loss, helpless and don’t know what to do during such a public event. Like at the Boston Marathon, they knew what to do. They immediately went forward to help,” said Elliot Gregg, president and chief executive officer of Kitsap Credit Union, who presented each of them with a Military Hero Award.

Upon receiving their awards, Hite shared a few words of thanks. “Knowledge compels,” he said. “It was knowledge from our training that compelled us forward to use our skills to help someone. We hope when others see such skills demonstrated in such a public area that this will remind them to also gain the knowledge. On behalf of Naval Hospital Bremerton and our soccer team, thank you for the recognition.”

Naval Hospital Bremerton staff members, individually and collectively, have been singled out for their efforts above and beyond the call of duty in the past half-a-dozen years.

In 2008, HM3 Marshall Smith was acknowledged for timely responding to the early-morning cries of help from an expectant mother who was suddenly delivering her baby on the first floor of the hospital. Naval Hospital Bremerton – the entire command – was recognized as the American Red Cross recipient of the 2009 Commitment to Community award for service and commitment to the great Kitsap Peninsula community. Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Marvin Belanio was honored with the 2011 Military Award for his life-saving efforts at rendering emergency first aid on an airline flight.

According to Karen McKay Bevers, American Red Cross West Sound director, the American Red Cross mission is demonstrated by the selfless acts of ordinary people performing extraordinary acts in an emergency situation. Such as those who were recognized today.

There are also approximately 70 American Red Cross volunteers at Naval Hospital Bremerton who routinely uphold the American Red Cross mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering by helping support NHB’s three-fold mission of supporting the warfighters, past and present, and their families by providing exceptional care – anytime, anywhere; shaping military medicine through training, research and graduate medical education; and preparing Navy and Marine forces for deployment.

Press Release, May 10, 2013; Image: NHB