Saving life for Air Force officer just another day at the beach


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Satellite Beach resident Christopher Minamyer left the Air Force as a captain after 10 years of service. He served as a mechanical systems engineer at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, where he was responsible for the management of F-16 mechanical and structural components in support of United States and international fleets.

SENIOR LIFE Chris Bonanno

What was supposed to be a relaxing day by the seashore turned into an afternoon of heroism as former Air Force officer Christopher Minamyer helped save a drowning man on North Redington Beach in Pinellas County.

A day at the beach was on the schedule for Minamyer and his family when they left their home in Satellite Beach to visit his aunt and uncle at Florida’s Sun Coast across the state. As the clan was enjoying the afternoon of sunshine and warm water, Minamyer saw a couple trying to drag an unconscious, unresponsive man to shore.

Minamyer and his aunt, registered nurse Leticia Godinez, rushed to help 63-year-old Dan Mikos, whom they found face down in the water. Minamyer’s military training kicked in and he pulled the man onto dry land so his aunt could establish an airway on the unconscious Mikos.

Godinez, together with Pinellas County Deputy Dustin Hansen, who arrived on the scene after being flagged down by beachgoers, worked to get the man’s heart to pump faster, while Minamyer performed stomach compressions to remove the water from the victim’s lungs until Mikos started coughing up the seawater.

“Not a lot was going through my mind at the time we were trying to rescue him, other than trying to get him to breathe and get him to safety,” Minamyer said.

Mikos was then transported to Largo Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

“When the paramedics finally arrived, they got an IV into him quickly, but were concerned about his heart rate,” Minamyer said.

He was relieved to hear Mikos had stabilized in the hospital.

“I really thought he wasn’t going to make it based on the shape he was in when we found him,” he said.

Mikos’ family contacted Minamyer and Godinez to thank them for their help.

“His daughter and sister were extremely grateful to my aunt and me for helping out,” said Minamyer, a mechanical engineering contractor for Kerman, Inc. at the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick Air Force Base.

After 10 years of service with the Air Force, Minamyer left as a captain. He served as a mechanical systems engineer at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, where he was responsible for the management of F-16 mechanical and structural components in support of United States and international fleets.

He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona and his master’s degree in space studies from American Military University. While on active duty, he had taken CPR lessons and earned a CPR certification card.

In his spare time, he has volunteered for more than 15 years as a Lego robotics instructor, running and coaching award-winning summer programs for students from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Rob Martin, Minamyer’s supervisor at Kerman, was not surprised to hear about his life-saving efforts.

“As a former Air Force officer and current contract engineer, Chris has consistently demonstrated a commitment to leadership, faith and service to others,” he said.

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