Auxiliary member reunited with woman he saved, awarded for heroic action

Saturday, July 20, 2013


ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – A Jacksonville, Fla.,-man and member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary was awarded a Coast Guard Auxiliary Commendation Medal Saturday morning for saving a woman’s life during a St. Patrick’s Day parade in St. Augustine, Fla.

Article by Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen

Before the ceremony, David Hensel was reunited with Sherry Hartman, of St. Augustine, for the first time since he performed CPR on her March 9, 2013, after she experienced complete heart failure, pneumonia symptoms and blood poisoning.

Hensel was with three other Auxiliary members who were preparing to represent the Coast Guard in the parade when he noticed Hartman had collapsed so he leapt into action and began performing CPR on her while instructing others to get help. He performed CPR for more than 13 minutes before EMTs arrived. Hartman was taken to a local hospital for treatment, where she remained in a coma for the next six days before recovering.

During the ceremony, Hartman said with teary eyes she couldn’t find the words to express her gratitude for what Hensel did for her, but she would be eternally grateful.

Aside from needing a pacemaker now, she is otherwise healthy. The hospital staff said David’s swift response is what kept Hartman alive.

A firefighter paramedic with the Seminole County Fire Department for 20 years before retiring in 2006, Hartman said she never expected to be on the receiving end of EMT care. She added that she hopes her story will show others the importance of knowing how to perform CPR.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the service’s volunteer component, and its members assist with safety and security patrols, search and rescue, mass casualty and disasters, pollution response and patrols, homeland security, recreational boating safety, commercial fishing and vessel exams, platforms for boarding parties and recruiting, among other duties.

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