HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Fire Department held a ceremony Thursday to honor those who put their own safety at risk to help others. Only, most of the honorees were not firefighters, they were ordinary citizens.
Their exploits were extraordinary.
"No way I can repay them. They gave me the biggest gift anyone can have" Dennis Tomasu said.
He was in attendance to give thanks to the crew of the Manoa District Pool. On February 19th, Tomasu suffered cardiac arrest while swimming. He was saved by the quick thinking and acting of those at the pool. Off-duty Fire Fighter III David Stackhouse, along with Pool Manager William Gardner, lifeguards Kaysha Izumoto, Shanda Lee, Crystal Tamura, and Melanie Tsuruda saved Tomasu.
Izumoto administered the CPR. "I just had to remember how many compressions to do. I made sure I was counting out loud and that it was deep enough" she said.
Other stories of heroism ensued.
Australian tourist Raffi Bankbekian was swimming in the Sheraton Waikiki pool in March when he noticed a small Japanese boy floating face down. He grabbed him and got him out of the water. Nearby, Straub nurse Kimm Goshi sprung into action, performing CPR successfully.
Both recalled the incident.
"There wasn't a moment of pause, just go into action I guess. At the end of the day, it was a child there, and you'd do it for anyone's child I guess" said Bankbekian.
"That he survived and I was a part of that is really rewarding. That's why I got into nursing, to help people" added Goshi.
On July 13, Wayne Mason led a charge to rescue an elderly woman from a house fire in Kalihi.
"It's just something people should do. If something happens, if they can help, go for it, don't just stand there" he noted.
Also honored were Jeremy and Joshua Macomber and Ms. Muriel Macomber.
On May 14 Mr. Kevin Ko entered the Ala Wai Canal and rescued the victim of a car accident.
On May 31, 2014, while off duty, Fire Fighter III Mark Inay and Mr. Eugene Dobler entered a hazardous automobile accident scene to render aid to the victims.
Inay deflected the attention.
"To see my neighbor or somebody down the street step up to help somebody in need, it makes me feel good because it justifies what I do just to see them doing it for somebody else".