Maui County Lifeguard receives Coast Guard Certificate of Valor

Hawaii-Pacific Coast Guard News
HONOLULU — A Maui County Lifeguard was presented the Coast Guard Certificate of Valor in a recognition ceremony at the Maui County Mayor’s Office, Friday.

Keoki Pfaeltzer was awarded the certificate by Capt. Shannon Gilreathe, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu commanding officer and Mayor Alan Arakawa for his efforts in rendering assistance to a distressed snorkeler off the shore of Ma’alaea Bay, Maui, June 14, 2013.

Maui County Lifeguard Keoki Pfaeltzer was awarded a Certificate of Valor by Capt. Shannon Gilreath, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu commanding officer and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa in an award ceremony held at the Maui County Mayor's Office, May 30, 2014. Pfaeltzer was recognized for his efforts in rendering assistance to a distressed snorkeler off the shores of Ma'alaea Bay, Maui, June 14, 2013. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Kevin Cooper

Maui County Lifeguard Keoki Pfaeltzer is awarded a Certificate of Valor by Capt. Shannon Gilreath, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu commanding officer and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa in an award ceremony held at the Maui County Mayor’s Office, May 30, 2014.

On the afternoon of June 14, 2013, Pfaeltzer who was off-duty at the time, witnessed a snorkeler struggling in 30 knot winds and strong ocean current. He immediately notified Maui County dispatch for assistance and alerted the individual’s friends and fellow campers on the beach.

Realizing the urgency of the situation, he immediately grabbed his surfboard and rescue tube from his residence and began paddling against the strong seas to assist the unconscious snorkeler.

Pfaeltzer used his training as a certified lifeguard and began CPR while balancing the victim on his surfboard. Simultaneously attempting to maintain position while conducting CPR for 10 minutes, Pfaeltzer flagged down a passing Coast Guard boat to assist in the recovery of the victim from the water. The snorkeler did not survive.

His skills, expertise and training as a Maui County Lifeguard were clearly displayed as he made a valiant effort to save a life.

Pfaeltzer was joined at the ceremony by his wife, mother and two children.

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