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HFD Mourns Loss of Paramedic Killed in Mountain View Car Crash

July 28, 2020, 8:52 AM HST
* Updated July 28, 9:00 AM
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Johnathan Hara (PC: HFD Capt. Melanie Keolanui)

Just over a week ago a fatal crash in Mountain View took the life of one of Hawai‘i Fire Department’s paramedics, Johnathan Hara.

Hara, 34, was on his way to work on July 18 when the collision occurred on Highway 11 near the Glenwood Transfer Station. When his colleagues responded, they found Hara unresponsive. He was taken to Hilo Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.

“Here’s a guy who’s saved countless people and is taken at 34,” said East Hawai‘i Battalion Chief Matthias Kusch. “It’s just not fair.”

Kusch said Hara was with the department for about 10 years and was his supervisor during some of that time. As the only integrated fire department in the state, all firefighters are trained as EMTs.

Kusch said paramedics are an under-appreciated asset in the community.

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“I’ve seen so many paramedics pull people from the clutches of death,” he added. “They’re like mobile doctors.”

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The loss of Hara has resonated among the department’s ranks. Capt. Melanie Keolanui, who worked with Hara on and off for the past four years, said the 34-year-old was always consistent, funny and enjoyable to work with.

For as long as she knew Hara he would always wear pink Crocs.

“When I think about him I can hear his laugh and see his dimples,” Keolanui said. “He was quiet but he had a big personality. He was always smiling.”

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Hara worked a lot of overtime so everybody knew him, Keolanui explained.

“He wasn’t there to just do the job and go home,” Keolanui said of Hara. “He took time to be serious and to teach.”

The last time Keolanui worked with Hara was July 6-8.

“We feel for those who responded that day (of the crash),” the captain said, adding there was this feeling of helplessness.

“With the short life he lived, most people would agree he lived his best life,” Keolanui said. “He’ll be missed.”

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