Chris M. Honda: Top U.S. paramedic

April 26th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in People

UH degree: BA ’94 Hilo; AS ’99 Kapiʻolani
Roots: Hawaiʻi Kai
Family: Wife, three sons
Athletics: Played catcher for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Vulcans
Inspiration: Stories told by his uncle, a captain with the Honolulu Fire Department
Memorable call: Resuscitating a 3-year-old drowning victim. “It was amazing to see him running around a few months later after we weren’t sure he would make it.”

Knowing how to respond to an emergency—even an academic one—earned Chris Honda 2009 Paramedic of the Year honors from the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.

He stepped in to train recruits when classes at the Hawaiʻi Emergency Medical Services Center in Hilo were lacking instructors. He spent hundreds of hours over six months, sacrificing personal time and lost pay (by being off the 24-hour fire line), to ensure the Hawaiʻi County Fire Department’s 36th recruit class received comprehensive instruction.

“It was a great experience. I had great group of recruits,” says Honda, whose students performed well on state and national board exams.

Honda worked in Honolulu for six years before moving back to Hilo, where he has been with the Hawai’i County Fire Department for 10 years. He finds many aspects of his job rewarding.

“It’s a stressful job, and it gets pretty intense. But it’s a great field. Helping people in time of need is the biggest thing. Helping the community by making a difference.”

Receiving the award in front of thousands of EMTs from across the country at the association meeting Georgia was humbling, Honda says. “It made me proud to represent Hilo and Hawaiʻi and put it on the map. I was honored and privileged to do that.”


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