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Farewell celebration turns into livesaving effort

  • Published
  • By Airman Basic Evan Carter
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
A going-away celebration for a fire department member at a local bar turned into a life-saving event when five Airmen provided emergency medical care to a local man. 

On May 10, several members of the fire department and one from the 36th Medical Group were attending a going-away party at Karisma nightclub. Late into the night, after several members of the group had already departed, Airmen 1st Class Aaron Plascencia, from the 36th Medical Group, Sean Bordonaro, from the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department, and Staff Sgt.'s Jason Ramirez and Joshua Thompson, from the 36 CES fire department and civilian fire fighter Bryan Hanohano were sitting down when two locals began arguing across the bar. The altercation quickly broke out into a fight and left one man, Randy Atalig, unconscious while the other man fled the scene. 

"We knew we had to do something to help the man, so as soon as things calmed a bit we worked together to provide assistance," said Sergeant Jason Ramirez. "Mr. Hanohano helped clear the way for us to help keep us safe from a hostile crowd and to calm the hysterical family members of the victim." 

Coordinating the effort, Sergeant Ramirez stayed back while Airmen Bordonaro and Plascencia did the initial ABC's, checking the victims pulse, breathing and consciousness. Sergeant Thompson assisted in the C-Spine -- a medical technique holding the neck in place so further damage can't be done. 

"His eyes were open, but he wasn't there," said Sergeant Ramirez. 

Once the ambulance came, Andersen members deferred the care to the local authorities. 

"It was all instinct," said Airman Plascencia. "We all knew we had to do something, and since we are all trained to make a difference, we did just that." 

"I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to help someone besides myself, and to have made a difference in someone else's life," he added. "It was an experience I don't think I will ever forget, and I am truly thankful to have been there to help." 

The fire chief was proud of his Airmen. 

"I am tremendously proud of the active duty and civilian firefighters and how they carried themselves while off-duty," said Andersen Fire Chief John Thompson. "To save a life is a wonderful accomplishment, but to do it while off-duty is fantastic." 

"My guys receive about 20 hours of refresher training annually, but their experience responding to the 300-plus medical calls per year on Andersen is what gives them the ability and courage to act in life and death situations," he added. "The Andersen motto is: 'I can save my own life.' I think these five Air Force members went one step further and redefined the motto to 'I can save someone else's life too!' 

Currently, Mr. Atalig is still recovering at Guam Memorial Hospital.

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