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Keesler instructor performs lifesaving workout

  • Published
  • By Tech.Sgt. Chuck Marsh
  • Keesler Public Affairs
Instead of doing push-ups and focusing on his breath during a morning workout, Staff Sgt. Lawerence Dizon performed push-downs and secured the breath of a Navy retiree who suffered a heart attack July 11. 

The ground radio instructor and 12-year Air Force veteran said he saw a crowd gathering at the other end of the gym that afternoon and immediately jumped into action after realizing what the commotion was. 

"I was working out at the World Gym and noticed a crowd by the treadmills and saw two feet lying down on the floor with the legs laid out and a crowd looking over them," said Sergeant Dizon, 338th Training Squadron. "I ran over to see what was happening and saw the gentleman, a friend of mine, lying on the floor seizing up and having a hard time breathing. 

"It appeared to me that the other folks standing around didn't know what to do, so I had them back up and I put the guy on his side so he wouldn't choke on his spit," he recalled. "I checked his vitals and he started to get worse. He was turning blue and stopped breathing, so I put him on his back and started CPR as another person helped by getting the gym's defibrillator ready. 

"The guy kept fading in and out, but I was able to keep doing CPR until the EMTs arrived and took over -- about 15-20 minutes," Sergeant Dizon continued. "In my mind, as I was doing the chest compressions, I was telling him, 'You can do it, give me something.' " 

What Sergeant Dizon recalls so nonchalantly were heroic actions, according to a fellow Airman who witnessed what happened. 

"I would describe his actions as heroic and in control," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Raff, 81st Training Support Squadron. "He was obviously well aware of the procedures and took control of the situation. There was no fear or that 'rush of adrenaline' look. 

"I talked with him afterward and it seemed like just the normal thing to do," Sergeant Raff pointed out. "In fact, even as the individual was on the way to the hospital, Sergeant Dizon coordinated with the Biloxi Police Department to ensure the victim's vehicle wasn't towed from the parking lot. 

"To be honest, the first thought I had when I witnessed his actions was 'Wow,' and how he set the example of Air Force and community," he added. "Everyone knows he is active-duty Air Force, and it was impressive to see him in action." 

Recently, Sergeant Dizon wanted an update on the victim.  "I haven't seen him yet, but I've heard he's back to his normal self and that he doesn't remember anything."
Sergeant Dizon was presented a coin by Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney McKinley during last week's visit to Keesler in recognition of his lifesaving response. 

He credited his Air Force self-aid and buddy care training as well as a Army combat lifesaver's course he took in preparation for his last deployment to Iraq as a convoy escort. 

"It was just a natural reaction -- I've seen and dealt with worse," he said. "I automatically went into life-saving mode, and my training came back instantly."

Sergeant Raff said, the actions that day by Sergeant Dizon demonstrated what being an Airman and a wingman are all about. 

"Not only did it show his great ability in first aid and CPR, but I think Sergeant Dizon exemplified the Airman's Creed," Sergeant Raff said. "He is a wingman. He did not falter and he did not fail -- he saved that man's life," said Sergeant Raff.