Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Two men honored for saving life of ferries employee

Naval officer, shipyard manager recognized for response to cardiac arrest

By Mike Allende

Most of the time, our Life Ring Awards are reserved for our ferries employees whose actions saved a life. But in the case of U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Besheer and Vigor Safety Manager Billy Ray Brittain, it was clear they needed to be honored.

On Wednesday, Besheer and Brittain were presented with the Life Ring Award for their actions in saving the life of Dave Bennett, an Assistant Engineer aboard our ferry Puyallup, which was in dry dock at the Vigor shipyard in West Seattle. It was just the second time someone from outside of our ferries group have earned the award.
Washington State Ferries Chief of Staff Elizabeth Kosa presents U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Besheer (left) and Vigor Safety Manager Billy Ray Brittain (right) with Life Ring Awards Wednesday.

"Without action and raw human compassion to save a life, we would not be here today," Washington State Ferries Chief of Staff Elizabeth Kosa said in presenting the award. "I'm grateful for every person and medical team that provided the best care available to ensure one of our own crew had a chance to recover from a significant medial incident."

On Nov. 13, Bennett collapsed while working at Vigor. Besheer, who is assigned to the USS Sampson – which was also docked at Vigor – and Brittain performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) on Bennett, who was suffering from a cardiac arrest. Their actions helped save Bennett until emergency medical help arrived.
Dave Bennett (center), an Assistant Engineer in our ferries division, thanks U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class
Nicholas Besheer (left) and Vigor Safety Manager Billy Ray Brittain (right) for their actions
in saving Bennett’s life when he went into cardiac arrest in November.

"Thank you for saving the life of one of our family members," Kosa said. "Thank you for making safety a priority, thank you for taking your training seriously, thank you for not hesitating and thank you for being an example to others."

All of our ferries crew members, including Brittain, are trained in basic first aid. Licensed deck officers are required to take an advanced first aid refresher course every two years. All of our vessels are equipped with multiple AEDs and checked daily. This year, our crewmembers have responded to 88 emergency, life-saving or rescue events so far.