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Shoreline Paramedic John Nankervis Continues to Save Lives

Nankervis throws out first pitch at Mariners game after receiving 2012 Spirit of Team Play Award from Medic One Foundation

In his 25 years of service to the Shoreline Fire Department, John Nankervis has seen his share of people in life-threatening situations.

But Wednesday night, before 14,000 baseball fans at Safeco Field, Nankervis was slated to throw out the first pitch as the receipient of the Medic One Foundation's 2012 Spirit of Team Play Award.

And he was just a bit nervous.

"It was a little nervewracking to be honest, but it was fun," Nankervis said. "It was quite an honor. I was touched by it all." 

Nankervis was nominated by his coworkers, who believe that he exemplifies the integrity, teamwork, and compassion that bestows this honor, according to Medic One.

Nankervis, now 46 years old, started his career as a volunteer firefighter for Shoreline Fire, was later hired by the Redmond Fire Department, before transferring to Shoreline where he's been ever since.

He went through the paramedic training program at Harborview Medical Center in 1988 via Medic One. In 1997, he became a medical services officer, a supervisory position which he still holds.

He also held a administration position for five years, a desk job, but he decided six years ago to go back on the front lines taking calls as a paramedic in the field because he felt he was too young to be in the office most of the time.

"I get the most enjoyment when I'm out taking care of people and teaching," he said.

The "most impactful" calls, Nankervis said, are when someone is clinically dead and suffering from cardiac arrest and the paramedics are able to bring them back to life. 

Nankervis recalled one call that especially stuck with him from 10 years ago. 

An 18-month old girl had fell into a backyard fish pond and drowned near 185th and Fremont. He was first on the scene and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation, on the girl who had suffered cardiac arrest. He worked on the girl for about 35 or 40 minutes, an extraordinary amount of time, before she finally got a pulse. 

Today the girl is a vibrant 11-year-old with no neurological defects. 

"That's what inspires me to do what I do," he said.

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