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    Local Navy Sailor Finds Man Unresponsive, Helps Save Life

    Chief Petty Officer Pinning

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Lindahl | ST PAUL, Minn. (Sept. 13, 2019) U.S. Navy Chief Electrician’s Mate John Prokop has...... read more read more

    CHASKA, Minn. - Navy Sailors, like most of the military, are trained to know how to respond to life and death situations while working, but what about when you're loading laundry in a car after visiting with your family?

    That time came for Navy Chief Electrician's Mate John Prokop, a recruiter assigned to Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Northern Plains, working out of the Blaine recruiting office, while visiting his mother in Minneapolis June 2nd. Prokop was loading laundry into his vehicle with his mother and sister at his mother's home in South Minneapolis, when he spotted an unresponsive man lying on a sidewalk across the street. Instincts kicked in and Prokop immediately reacted.

    "I noticed that across the street someone was laying down on the sidewalk so I yelled out to him to see if he would respond," Prokop said. "I ran over to him and started shouting really loud, 'Hey, are you ok? Wake up! Are you ok?"

    After no response, Prokop ran across the street to the man, checked his pulse and breathing and after determining both were normal, he began conducting a sternal rub, but still had no response.

    "I told my sister and mom to grab some water and I instructed the other neighbor to call 911 ASAP," he said. "I continued to shake him and rub his chest and he finally opened one of his eyes slightly."

    Prokop has received many separate medical trainings throughout his time in the Navy, including first aid training while stationed aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and CPR training while going through recruiter school. His training aided his instincts and led him to know there was hope, so he continued with sternal rubs.

    A sternal rub is performed to determine how responsive a patient is, where you rake your knuckles into an unresponsive person's center chest, along the ribcage, in order to wake them up or keep them conscious. It is the first step to be performed on an overdose victim, according to

    "[The man] still wasn't moving so I continued to rub his chest, rubbing it so hard that my knuckle skin came off, and he finally opened both eyes," Prokop said.

    Prokop then asked a series of questions, to which the man was unable to answer, but he knew he needed to keep the man conscious as long as he could until help arrived.

    "I kept asking his name, 'have you done any drugs or drinking?' and he mumbled but then tried closing his eyes again so I continued to tell him he has to stay awake until help arrives," he said. "[I] rubbed his chest for the next 5 minutes, shouting at him, until the ambulance and paramedics arrived."

    When the paramedics did arrive, they continued the sternal rub and checked his vitals. They thanked Prokop for his help and confirmed that it could have been much worse had he not stepped in.

    Prokop was visiting his mother during the days-worth of protests and riots in South Minneapolis to ensure her safety at her home, located just three blocks from the ill-fated Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct.

    As for performing these life-saving tasks in front of his mother and sister, Prokop knew he was making his mother proud and made the right decisions.

    "It gave me a huge amount of pride to be able to show them I'm more than willing to step up and help someone in need," Prokop said.

    With his Navy training and quick decision making, Prokop gave more than just his immediate family a sense of pride. His Commanding Officer, Cmdr. James Darkenwald, a native of Elk River, had great things to say about Prokop.

    "Chief Prokop is an incredible leader and professional," Darkenwald said. "We have been fortunate to have Chief Prokop on our team, and his fellow Navy Sailors and teammates are very proud of his quick action and ability to serve and protect the community we live in. We are fortunate to serve alongside him."

    NTAG Northern Plains is responsible for enlisted and officer recruiting, covering 393,000 square miles, in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and parts of Illinois and Wisconsin.



    Date Taken: 06.05.2020
    Date Posted: 06.05.2020 11:47
    Story ID: 371533
    Location: MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US 
    Hometown: MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US

    Web Views: 1,728
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