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Chief Petty Officer Paz Rhyner is presented with the Fleet Week San Diego Making a Difference award by USAA Military Affairs Representative, David Dearie during the Enlisted Recognition Luncheon held at SeaWorld on Tuesday. Rhyner saved a man’s life this September when I collapsed while visiting the USS Midway Museum. (Photo: Ed Langmaid.)

Local San Diego Sailor Earns Fleet Week Making a Difference Award

Chief Petty Officer Paz Rhyner honored for saving a life aboard USS Midway Museum

San Diego CA— First aid is a core skill taught to every Sailor in the U.S. Navy.  So when an elderly man lost consciousness and collapsed on the deck of the USS Midway Museum in September, Chief Petty Officer Paz Rhyner was ready to spring into action, helping to save the man’s life.  Today, Rhyner received the San Diego Fleet Week Making a Difference award for her heroic actions.

“I just did what anybody would do,” said Rhyner, who serves at the Center for Surface Combat Systems at Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center in Point Loma.  “It was important to save this person’s life.”

Rhyner, who was recently promoted to chief petty officer in September, was aboard the USS Midway Museum supporting a memorial ceremony when she heard screaming.  She witnessed another person rendering first aid to the unconscious man, but the individual stopped after a short while.  Rhyner knew she needed to do something or the man would likely perish.  With a nearby Automated External Defibrillator in hand, Rhyner rushed to the man’s side, and prepared to treat him.

“The AED did administer a shock and I checked for breathing again, which was not occurring.  And then, since there was no relative, I found a CPR mask and conducted mouth to mouth while the nursing aid continued compressions,” said Rhyner.  “After a short period of time, the man gained consciousness and the paramedics cared for him when they arrived on scene.”

Rhyner attributed the lifesaving outcome to her years of experience as a certified Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation instructor.  She said, “I knew what to do in that situation and the outside stress did not impact me.  All that mattered was saving a man’s life.”

“Chief Petty Officer Rhyner exemplifies what it is to be an U.S. service member,” said Jack Ensch, 2018 Fleet Week San Diego President.  “Our armed services are made up of some of the most capable people our country has to offer.  Their service on the front lines to uphold our ideals as Americans is equally matched by their service in the communities in which they live.  We are proud to applaud Chief Petty Officer Rhyner’s heroic actions with the Making a Difference Award.”

This year’s award was sponsored by USAA, which has been a proud supporter of military members and their families since 1922.

“USAA is honored to be the Making a Difference Award sponsor that recognizes the volunteerism and great accomplishments the military community perform throughout the year,” said David Dearie, USAA Military Affairs Representative.

Military commands from San Diego nominated more than a dozen enlisted men and women for their outstanding achievement and service to our country on a daily basis.  Nominees in addition to Rhyner included 1st Sgt. Frank F. Daugherty Jr., Staff Sgt. Matthew Dawson, Staff Sgt. Selena Espinoza, Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Foil, 1st Sgt. Eric Howitt, Sgt. 1st Class Alper Kontente, Petty Officer 2nd Class Rebecca L Lennex, Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Lewis, Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua D.  Lheureux, Staff Sgt. Sergio Lopez, Petty Officer 2nd Class Hugo Medrano, Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Rygalski, Petty Officer Holly Schippers, Petty Officer 2nd Class Lekia Turner, Sgt. Channing L. Uber, Petty Officer 2nd Class Seantrice Wade, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Whitehouse.

“Selecting just one service member to honor from this very deserving and competitive group of candidates was very difficult,” Ensch said.  “These men and women form the backbone of our United States Military, and they have made great sacrifices on behalf of all Americans.  We are grateful for their service, and the service of all of the women and men who step up to support and defend our Constitution each and every day.”

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