WILKES-BARRE — Two Luzerne County residents were recognized Tuesday by the U.S. Coast Guard for their efforts in saving the life of a fellow civilian while aboard a boat this past summer.
The ceremony was hosted by the Wilkes-Barre-based Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 15-03 at the William G. McGowan School of Business at King’s College, where the group meets every month.
Friends Richard Snowdon, of Dallas, and Michael Likens, of Luzerne, were traveling on a boat in July that left from Oswego, N.Y., and was making its way to Lake Ontario for an annual fishing trip.
During the journey, one of their friends had a heart attack. The captain changed his course and turned toward Oswego Harbor and called the Coast Guard and local EMS for assistance. While the crew waited for help to arrive, Snowdon and Likens assisted the deck hand with performing CPR on the victim.
Likens works for a local construction company, where he is required to be certified in CPR regularly through the American Red Cross. He said performing CPR is “ten times harder” while on a boat due to the continuous motion.
“Everything on the boat was going from side to side — all of our hooks… not the ideal time for something like this to happen in the least,” Liken said.
They performed chest compressions and rescue breathing on the man continuously for 20 minutes. Likens also had fears his friend might not survive, but he and Snowdon did not give up and just kept trying to revive him.”It was in the back of your head the whole time,” he said.
Snowdon and Likens continued to provide care to the unconscious victim until Oswego paramedics arrived on shore. The victim’s pulse was re-established and he was taken to Oswego Hospital, where he later recovered.
Likens and Snowdon were presented the Coast Guard’s Certificate of Merit by Capt. Kurt Clarke, Deputy Sector Commander of Delaware Bay. Clarke also emphasized that trying to save a life while on a boat is definitely “no easy task.”
“Working on the water is much different than working on the floor of a gym when you’re practicing, so I applaud your efforts and really appreciate your hustle and your caringness for your friend,” Clarke told the men.
Likens and Snowdon were also given awards on behalf of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as well as the Senate. Both men were humbled by the recognition.
“It’s a wonderful honor — didn’t expect it or want it,” Snowdon said with a laugh. “We’re more thankful for the good results and the full recovery for our friend.”