Lifestyle

Life-saving efforts: Three stories in Federal Way

Candy Berg was saved from drowning during a May diving expedition off Redondo beach, thanks to the efforts of Jessica Bennett (fourth from right), a paramedic with King County Medic One, her dive instructor Tania Johnson (far right), nurse Laura Lauzen (far left) who was on the beach, and Larry Trenda (second right), who was also on the shore. - Courtesy photo
Candy Berg was saved from drowning during a May diving expedition off Redondo beach, thanks to the efforts of Jessica Bennett (fourth from right), a paramedic with King County Medic One, her dive instructor Tania Johnson (far right), nurse Laura Lauzen (far left) who was on the beach, and Larry Trenda (second right), who was also on the shore.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

It was a day for celebrating life-saving efforts.

Several citizens were honored June 17 at the South King Fire and Rescue commissioner's meeting.

John Roundtree

First up was John Roundtree, the groundskeeper at Tall Fir Condominiums. On April 20, Roundtree was called over by his wife to help a man who wasn't breathing. Although the young man didn't make it, thanks to Roundtree's CPR efforts, the family was able to say goodbye. The young man's organs were still viable, and were donated to five other individuals, changing their lives.

"John is an absolute cracker jack employee," the homeowners association president Phyllis Hilt said. "I just want you to know how proud of you we are."

Diver down

Then it was on to the story that made headlines a few weeks ago: The rescue of a diver off Redondo Beach.

On May 15, Jessica Bennett, a paramedic with King County Medic One, and her diving instructor, Tania Johnson, were diving at Redondo Beach when they noticed a yellow diver's fin, then a woman with her regulator floating near her face. They began working to bring her to the surface.

Onshore, registered nurse Laura Lauzen noticed the panic and ran to the beach, asking several other divers along the way if they knew CPR — and Larry Trenda said he did. Lauzen grabbed him and began performing CPR when the patient was brought to the beach, with Lauzen performing chest compressions and Trenda performing mouth to mouth.

Once Bennett had removed her diving equipment, she relieved Lauzen on chest compressions.

Shortly thereafter, South King Fire and Rescue arrived on scene with engine 66 and 62, along with Medic 13.

The diver, Candy Berg, was taken to Harborview Medical Center where she recovered. Berg attended the award presentation on Thursday to thank her rescuers.

Even her rescuers were surprised at her survival.

"I am very happy for you. I was quite surprised when I heard you lived," Lauzen said.

Lauzen's mother, Federal Way Mayor Linda Kochmar, was also there that day.

"I saw you too, honey you were dead," she told Berg.

Berg had brought small heart tokens for her female rescuers.

"I just owe you guys everything," Berg said. "You guys have a piece of my heart because you saved my heart."

Check out a cell phone video of Berg's rescue:

Steve and Susan Hopf

Also honored on Thursday was the department's own Capt. Steve Hopf.

Hopf and his wife, Susan, were on a flight to Honolulu on April 17, when they noticed the man in front of them was unconscious. It was just past the midpoint of the flight. The Hopfs provided aid to the man and his friend, who also felt ill, for several hours on the flight, keeping them alive until arrival where they could receive further assistance.

"The rest of the vacation was great," Capt. Hopf said.

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