“Off duty” Marine saves a life at Turtle Bay Hilton Resort
By Cpl. Danielle M. Bacon
| | November 27, 2007
U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii --
It was a hot day at Turtle Bay Beach, Hawaii, in March, and all Gunnery Sgt. David Jenkins wanted to do was play volleyball. That was out of the question for the 3rd Radio Battalion Marine who answered the call to duty by attempting to save a man’s life and in return received an award for heroism from the Honolulu Police and Fire Departments, Aug. 10.
“There was a woman screaming for someone to call 911 and a man lying in the sand turning purple with blood coming from his mouth. I didn’t jump in right away because I wanted to give room for someone with more medical background. The woman asked if anyone knew (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). That is when I realized no one else was helping and I stepped in after telling my wife to call 911,” said Jenkins, a crypto analyst. “All I knew was my Marine Corps first aide.”
He added that there was 20 people standing around watching as he checked the victim for a pulse, took another breath and continued CPR. Before the fire department could respond Jenkins had the victim breathing again.
“We got him breathing, but it was very labored. We had to hold his tongue down with the end of a hairbrush. He stopped breathing as the emergency medical personnel got there,” said Jenkins a Dayton, Ohio native.
He added, “You have to assess the situation. I knew my capabilities. If there was someone there with more medical experience I would step aside,” said Jenkins who joined the Marine Corps 22-years-ago.
That is exactly what he did when the fire department and paramedics arrived.
“When we got there, we went straight to the victim. He was our main priority. When I finished, I heard about Jenkins from the head of security for the Turtle Bay Resort,” said Fire Capt. Gary Pardy, the fireman who nominated Jenkins for an award. “When I looked around I didn’t see Jenkins, but I wanted to nominate him for the heroism award, because he had total disregard for his own life.”
Jenkins was still there, but he had gone to the water to wash the blood off.
“That day … it happened so fast. I was just amazed,” said Karen S. Jenkins, Jenkins wife. “David was so calm. He didn’t even think about the fact that he had that man’s blood all over his face.”
Pardy added, it takes a brave caring person to put his life aside and do what Jenkins did – unprotected mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Jumping in to help isn’t something new for Jenkins, although this is the first time it came down to saving someone’s life.
“He always tells us not to tell our Marines to do something that we wouldn’t do,” said Cpl. Jeremy Link. “He gives us something that needs to get done, shows us a way to do it and then says, if you can think of a better way to do it – let me know.”
Despite the risk taken by Jenkins, the victim died later that week.
“We need more people who are willing to do what they can before trained medical personnel arrive on the scene,” said Pardy who added that being CPR trained would help .