NAPLES, Fla. — Swimming season had long arrived by June 16 last summer when frantic grandparents called 911 after discovering their 2-year-old granddaughter unconscious in the pool.
Dispatched to the scene at Quail Creek in North Naples were Lts. Jackie Lockerby and Laurie McKenney and paramedic Adiel Pineiro, all with Collier County’s Emergency Medical Services. Capt. Chuck Bacon with the North Naples Fire Department also went to the scene.
“(The toddler) went to get her swimmies and the grandparents didn’t see her go in the pool,” McKenney said.
The 911 dispatcher walked the grandparents through the process of cardiopulmonary resuscitation while the EMS team was on its way.
“She was limp and pale and had a heartbeat but was not breathing,” McKenney said.
The team put the youngster in the ambulance and lost her heartbeat. They brought her back to life during the trip to NCH North Naples Hospital.
“When we got her back she was crying,” Lockerby said.
“When you hear that crying that is really a good sign, the best thing you can hear after a drowning,” McKenney added.
The rescue team was among more than 75 paramedics, firefighters and sheriff’s deputies honored Tuesday with Phoenix awards for successfully restoring heartbeats and bringing people back to life after sudden cardiac events. The Phoenix is a mythological bird that died and rose renewed from ashes.
For Lt. Rusty Godette with the Golden Gate fire department, Tuesday’s ceremony brought him two Phoenix awards, his first although he has worked for the fire department since 1996 and administers CPR and other life-support training to colleagues.
He can’t recall the exact dates of his two separate saves but one was a man in this late 50s or early 60s and the second call was a woman in her late 40s. Both were in full cardiac arrest and he helped bring them back to life and transported them to Physicians Regional Medical Center-Pine Ridge.
He later learned they were likely drug overdoses, perhaps from accidental overmedicating.
“It’s definitely rewarding,” Godette said, adding that the training he and his colleagues go through includes staying calm and performing rescue techniques properly. “That is the reason why people call 911. We bring that calmness to the situation.”
The others receiving Phoenix awards Tuesday from EMS were Lt. Kim Anderson, Lt. Michael Apicella (two awards), Lt. Dave Becker (two awards), Lt. Tony Camps, Lt. Patricia Dixon, Lt. John Harraden, Lt. David Kitchen, Lt. Paul Passaretti, Lt. Alan Pitts, Lt. John Plummer, Lt. Arthur Wolf (three awards), Jolene Apicella, Dennis Disarro, Debra Hancock, Debra Kamzan, Stephen Krivjanik, Joshua Muhammed, Greg Pacter, John Perry, Marlon Pierre, Kelli Renton, Gabriel Smith, Brad Underwood (two awards), Angela Walker, Jon Maguire, Jason Malecki and Jennifer Seekell.
Recipients with the City of Naples Fire Department were Jennifer Pratt and Austin Bleiweiss.
Golden Gatefire recipients were Lt. Abe Quintanilla, Jose Garcia, Ben Krick, John Richard, James Youngsman, Jake Beckman, Jesus Padilla, Matt Trent and Scott Wilson.
Recipients from the East Naples Fire Department were Capt. Sean Hunt, Lt. Scott Hogan, Lt. Bill Packard, Scott MacQuarrie, Dave Veron, Chris Citak, Aaron Asher and Jarret Cotter.
Dave Thomas from the Isles of Capri Fire Department also received a Phoenixaward.
Recipients from the Marco Island Fire Department were Chief Don James, Chief Jeff Kutzke, Capt. Dean Heasley, James Jay, Jamil Smith, Steve Fickling (two awards), Kenny Alford, Dustin Beatty, Donald Jones, Heath Nagel (two awards) and Leo Rodriguez.
Sheriff’s Office recipients were Cpl. Robert Cady, Cpl. Shawn Grorge, Cpl. Sang Kim, Sgt. Gary Martin, Chris Hudson, John Knowlton and Rollin Stone.
Recipients from the Marco Island Police Department were Cpl. Jim Hassig, Cpl. Kevin Hennings, Lt. Cliff Morine, Hector Diaz, Eric Rhymer, Frank Stieger, Tige Thompson and George Williams.