An epic life saving tale

Reading the last TTP, I can’t let this event fall in the forgotten tales bag. I therefore reproduce the TTP article here, easily searchable in the BOCUS website… – Big Hopper-.


Brother “Swedish Navigator” – Gary Johnson – collapsed on the evening of June 8 th , following dinner on the first night of the Chesapeake Table Zafarrancho and USA Captain’s Meeting.. One moment he was deep in a conversation,, the next moment he was on the deck.. Gary’s life was saved that night by Chesapeake Brother Scott Rogers and A..JJ.. Eller,, wife of Chesapeake Brother Mark Eller..

Gary is a pretty tough old sailor,, but anyone who was there knows that it was the quick thinking and the truly professional application of CPR by A..JJ.. Eller and Scott Rogers that saved his life.. All of their training and experience was there for Gary when it was needed.. Scott is a retired fire fighter with EMT experience and is trained in CPR,, using it numerous times during his career..

Garry beginning of the party

A..JJ.. Eller is an operating room registered nurse who is also CPR trained,, although in her work she has not had to use CPR as much as Scott.. Sometimes CPR is the only option,, but it is not ideal.. In Scott’s experience,, when CPR is necessary the survival rate is fairly low,, sadly only about 5%% make it..

When Gary collapsed,, Scott and A..JJ.. sprang into action without a moment’s hesitation.. Initially Gary was breathing and had a pulse.. After a few minutes,, however,, Garry lost his pulse and Scott and E..JJ..,, working as an effective and highly skilled team,, administered CPR.. A..JJ.. was first to perform CPR, and after she tired,, Scott took over until the ambulance arrived.. Both made sure that Gary’s airway was clear to avoid choking,, with Craig Wright lending a hand.. Even though the hospital was close – by,, this event took place during Norfolk’s “HHarbor Fest””,, and many streets were closed or congested.. It took about 15 minutes for the ambulance to arrive,, while Scott and A..JJ.. attended to Gary.. The EMT’s took over CPR,, administered two shocks by AED (Automated External Defibrillator)),, and wheeled Gary to the ambulance,, where he was stabilized and then taken to the hospital..

When asked about how he felt prior to collapsing,, Gary said he had no warning at all – no shortness of breath or feeling dizzy.. He had never been told that his medical history would indicate a cardiac event could happen.. Thankfully,, subsequent testing found no arterial blockage or permanent damage,, but instead pointed to Atrial Fibrillation (AAFIB)) as the cause.. Gary has no memory of his collapse or the next four days in the hospital..

Gary’s son Jimmy came from Hawaii to be with him during his lengthy Norfolk hospital stay.. There were some speed bumps along the way,, but the “SSwedish Navigator”” is now back at his home in Cocoa Beach,, Florida,, with close friends nearby and receiving great care.. Gary is as feisty as ever and just celebrated his 80 th birthday on August 21 st . He now has a pacemaker which monitors his heart’s rhythm,, and if AFIB is detected,, it administers a mild pulse to shock his heart back into normal rhythm..

One take – away from this event is that if an AED were readily available,, it could have been used effectively to stabilize Gary rather than administering CPR.. National Captain Scott Ripley has taken this to heart and provisioned both his home and boat with AEDs.. Other Brothers should seriously consider purchasing an AED as a cheap insurance policy..

We are all grateful to A..JJ.. and Scott,, the ambulance paramedics,, and the doctors and nurses of Norfolk’s first class cardiac hospital,, for Gary’s recovery.. Lastly,, but most importantly,, the members of the Chesapeake Table,, too many to name,, visited,, encouraged,, and looked after Gary for the entire time he was in the hospital and rehabilitation center.. For those of us who could only call and send cards,, it was good to know that Brothers and their wives were there for him.. Gary and the Savannah Table can’t thank you enough for his incredible “eearly”” birthday present!!

Swedish Navigator’s 80th Birthday

Joe Citarella – USA Int’l Vigie & John Byrne, Captain Savannah Table

Michael Pranschke – Broomlip

Michael Pranschke has slipped his mooring and begun his final passage upon the eternal sea on Tuesday, November 22nd.

Mike left us unexpectedly this week after years of learning to live with serious medical conditions.  In addition to his other challenges, but unknown to Mike, he also had an advanced heart  problem.  Through it all, Mike maintained his sense of humor and positive outlook.  He worked on his many projects, and to Karen’s frustration, frequently acquired new ones.  He supported his local sailing club, went schooner racing every summer in Nova Scotia until he couldn’t, and set about restoring a vintage VW Beetle for Karen.  The Savannah Table depended on Brother “Broomlip” to manage our funds as Purser, and for a time he also took on the job of Scribe.  In recent years he applied his considerable expertise to boiling lobsters, making our fall Lobster Dinner the success it was.  Mike and Karen constantly opened their home to the Table.  The Savannah Table is blessed with a lot of heart, one of the biggest lived at 32 Brightwater Drive in Thunderbolt, Georgia.  He will be greatly missed.

Credit: Michael Pranschke – Fabebook page


John Byrne
Captain, Savannah

The Savannah Zafarrancho almost here! Head Count !

Zaf Reception and Dinner:
Tybee American Legion
The first event will take place on Thursday, September 22, beginning at 5:30PM at the Tybee Island American Legion Hall, Post 154. The location is 10 Veterans Drive, Tybee Island, Georgia 31328. We will have registration materials for you, and the Legion is putting on a Fried Shrimp Dinner. The bar is available to you. Dinner is served between 5:30 and 7:30PM or until they run out.

We would like to let the American Legion know how much food to prepare. If you will eat dinner with us, please email me at Soon would be appreciated!

Zaf Sunday Breakfast: The Farewell Breakfast will be held at the “Tybee Island Community Center” (aka “The Guard House”). The address is 31 Van Horn Avenue, Tybee Island, GA. Breakfast will be served from 9:00AM until Noon on Sunday.

Please let us know your breakfast plans for Sunday. Send an email to me at Soon would be appreciated!

Tybee Island, Georgia Sept.22

Savannah Capt Meeting and Zaf: Sept 22

Tybee Island Lite shrine Club
Tybee Island Lite shrine Club

Attached is the formal Announcement and Invitation to the 2016 Savannah Zafarrancho and Captains Meeting.  Included is a brief description of the planned events and the places where they will be held.  The last page shows the “fee to attend” and where to send it, and there is a “form” that will help with tracking people down should that be necessary.
The Savannah Table very much looks forward to entertaining you and the members of your Tables who are able to attend.   Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you or your Table members.

Savannah-Capt-Meeting2016 – as Word Document



Pirogue (aka John Byrne)