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Quick thinking by Mid-Pacific graduates saves swimmer

Good Samaritans. Mid-Pacific Grads. New Friends.

Posted on October 17, 2018 by Scot Allen

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Jesse Yonover '07 and Sean Parsa '98

Today, Mid-Pacific honored two alumni heroes who saved the life of a young swimmer at China Walls. During chapel today, current students and teachers listened to the two describe what that day felt like.

On Sept. 1, 2018, Sean Parsa '98 and Jesse Yonover '07 were surfing at the popular east Oahu surf spot. From the shore they noticed a swimmer in distress. 18-year-old Kalei Kolivas was going under and starting to drown. In a panic, she waved to shore. Parsa and Yonover noticed and jumped in the water with their boards. By the time the two reached her, she had stopped breathing. They placed her on their boards and immediately began administering CPR. After expelling foaming sea water, the swimmer began to show signs of life.

"That day was one that neither one of us will ever forget," Yonover told the students. "It was only the two of us in the water most of that day. Then we saw someone waving for help."

The two sprinted as fast as they could to get to her. By the time they reached her, she had gone under.

"At the start, she was definitely not moving or breathing for a while," Parsa said. "It took only a few minutes, but a lot went through our minds."

"When we put her on the surfboard she basically just died right there on the board," Yonover said. "If it wasn't for Sean's quick thinking to do CPR right there on the surfboard, I don't think she would be here today. After about 40 seconds, she started breathing again. There was definitely a thought that we might have had to take her dead body out of the water. In a time of crisis, you just do what seems like the right thing. Thankfully, in our situation, we are able to save her life and rescue her. It was a super scary moment."

Their main message to students: when you are out in the ocean, things can change really fast. Sets can come out of nowhere and you can get in big trouble very quickly. They urged students to be careful and take care of one another, and help those in need.

The theme of the day's chapel was "appreciation," which was shown in abundance by student and faculty applause. The two expressed praise for their Mid-Pacific teachers, encouraging current students to appreciate their teachers while still in school. They also encouraged the students to keep in touch with their friends through the years after high school.

"To be honest, this was a blessing," Parsa said. "I got to meet Jesse and this actually brought about a (new) friendship."

"The purpose of life is to help others," Parsa said.

Parsa and Yonover were also honored for their service as good samaritans by Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Click here for a Star-Advertiser video.

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