Pair Honored For Saving Friend’s Life On Fishing Trip

December 6, 2017

WILKES-BARRE — Michael Lykon and Richard Snowdon started their July 28 fishing trip looking to relax. They ended it helping to save a friend’s life. The United States Coast Guard awarded both Lykon, 40, of Kingston Twp. and Snowdon, 70, of Dallas a Certificate of Merit for helping save a heart attack victim during the July fishing trip on the Great Lakes. The award recognizes people who have made a notable contribution to one of the Coast Guard’s federally designated missions. The agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for 11 maritime duties, including drug interdiction, aiding navigation, environmental protection and more. “If you ask any Coastie, the one we take the most pride in is search and rescue,” said Kurt Clarke, deputy sector commander for the agency’s Delaware Bay sector. That was the mission Lykon and Snowdon helped complete while on an annual fishing trip on Lake Ontario. The lake was choppy, with waves up to four feet high, when they received word they had permission to begin fishing. They went underway on the fishing vessel The Other Woman to search for trout and salmon and began pulling some in. Their friend caught one big fish, then another. Then disaster struck. Their friend collapsed to the deck. He was unresponsive when deckhand Ed Hogan tried to wake him. He needed emergency CPR. Captain Ronald Hill turned back to the harbor while Lykon and Snowdon began helping the deckhand perform chest compressions and rescue breathing. Lykon has a CPR certification from his job with Fehlinger Construction Group. He and Snowdon got to work. “Everything was going side to side, all the gear. Because not only were we in a small craft advisory, but we’re rushing to get back to shore. So we’re hitting those big waves. And everything on the boat is now flying around,” Lykon said. They kept working for more than 20 minutes as the captain navigated to help. They made it to a lighthouse, with their friend still unconscious, when Oswego, New York, emergency medical responders boarded the vessel. They took the man off the boat, and once on shore, the Oswego Fire Department used a defibrillator to reestablish a pulse then took him to the Oswego Hospital. The men “directly saved a person in cardiac arrest from near certain death and in doing so they upheld the maritime tradition of assisting others in distress. Their actions serve as a shining example for the entire Great Lakes community and are most heartily commended by the United States Coast Guard,” read the certificate. They’re in rare company. The Coast Guard probably awards the Certificate of Merit to fewer than 20 people across the country each year, Clarke said. “I’m honored to receive this award,” said Snowdon. “It’s very humbling, and we’re so grateful that the end result was the survival of our good friend.” Contact the writer: bwellock@citizensvoice.com 570-821-2051, @CVBillW