Officer and Firefighter of the Year Honored

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(L–R) Hawai‘i County Council Member Susan Lee Loy, “Firefighter of the Year” EMS Capt. Chris Honda, East Hawai‘i “Officer of the Year” Puna Patrol Officer Joshua Baumgarner, Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth, and Sen. Kaiali‘i Kahele. Courtesy photo.

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Puna Patrol Officer JoshuaBaumgarner as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Year” and Fire EMS Capt. Chris Honda as “Firefighter of the Year” at a ceremony held on  Monday evening, March 20.

Officer Baumgarner, who began solo patrol duty in April 2016, was honored for saving the life of a woman who would have bled to death without his aid.

Capt. Honda, a member of the fire department since 2000, was honored for improving cardiac arrest survival rates on Hawai‘i Island.


On September 23, 2016, Officer Baumgarner was among the police officers who responded to a home in the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision to find a 29-year-old woman bleeding profusely after punching a glass window during a domestic dispute. The woman’s husband and young children were frantic at the scene, where the husband was unsuccessfully attempting to stem the bleeding.

Officer Baumgarner quickly took action. He applied direct pressure to the woman’s affected artery, elevated her feet to concentrate remaining blood in her vital organs, and reassured her to prevent shock. He successfully stopped the bleeding, then continued to maintain constant pressure on the artery until fire department rescue personnel arrived on the scene about 8 to 10 minutes later. The woman was taken to the hospital and survived her injuries.

Sgt. Chris Correia, who nominated Officer Baumgarner for the award, noted that the officer had training as a combat medic in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.


“Officer Baumgarner’s background in the medical field, as well as his calm demeanor in providing and maintaining first aid treatment, saved the life of a gravely injured person,” Sgt. Correia wrote in nomination papers. “His decisive action in the saving of a life truly embodies the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s Core Values of integrity, professionalism, compassion, teamwork and community satisfaction.”

Officer Baumgarner was named “Officer of the Month” in November for the same incident.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department’s honoree, Capt. Honda, was promoted to his current position as a Fire Medical Specialist III, or EMS Captain, with the EMS Bureau in August 2012. He is the fire department’s lead in “High Performance” CPR training, the “Community Hands Only” CPR training in schools project and the “Pilot HPD AED” response program.


Since inception, more than 9,000 persons have been trained in “Hands Only” CPR. In that time, cardiac arrest survivor rates improved from 4% in 2014 to more than 10% in 2016. In 2016, 19 out of 197 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims walked out of the hospital neurologically intact.

One such success story involved several students who participated in and helped instruct the “Hands Only” CPR training at Waiākea High School. They performed “Hands Only” CPR on a friend who collapsed in cardiac arrest off campus while playing basketball. Because of their training, the students were able to resuscitate their classmate, who later recovered in time to graduate with his class as valedictorian.

During his time off, Capt. Honda can be found on the baseball field as a volunteer coach, mentoring youth on the values of hard work, commitment, sacrifice, integrity and teamwork.

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Year” and “Firefighter of the Year” awards are a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

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