2019 Star of Life
Christopher Clark was born and raised in Pennsylvania. At an early age, he joined the United States Air Force. During his enlistment, he became a certified Paramedic, serving as an Independent Duty Medic for the Red Horse Squadron at both home station and during deployments. In 2015, after twenty years of service, Chris retired from active duty and promptly enrolled in the UNLV School of Nursing. Taking advantage of former Governor Sandoval’s initiatives to encourage small businesses to employ skilled veterans, Clark was hired by Life Guard International, now AirMed Response, as a flight paramedic. Despite frequently working long hours, he attended nursing school full-time, graduating with honors and attaining his license as a registered nurse in late 2018.
Chris is not one to shy away from assignments, even when they are most challenging. Often, on a moment’s notice, he would drop his personal agenda, don his flight suit, and fly desperately ill patients away to receive life-saving care. When the only hospital between Reno and Las Vegas closed its doors several years ago, Life Guard provided a medevac aircraft to support the meager EMS resources in the remote regions. Chris volunteered for assignment to that base in Tonopah between 2015 and 2018, often for as long as 10 days at a stretch. There, he mentored and encouraged volunteers, rendered care, saved lives, and organized medevac flights for those in dire need. Back-up was usually only available from other medevac airplanes and helicopters more than a hundred miles away.
Stories of Clark’s conduct are still fresh in the minds of the residents of Nye and Esmeralda County. In the middle of the night, as the lone provider along with a Deputy Sheriff, Chris Clark resuscitated a victim of cardiac arrest found on a lone stretch of U.S. Highway 95, called a helicopter from another agency, and sending her to a distant medical center, alive! Another time, he was summoned deep into the desert, where he located, treated, and transported to the airport where he climbed into a medevac airplane, personally delivering accident victim to a trauma center in Las Vegas. In 2017, following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, Clark was first to volunteer and to be sent as the largest peacetime FEMA medevac deployment in history. His military deployment experiences were translated into key strategies that supported the logistics of over 350 other deployed paramedic’s, nurses, and pilots staffing sixty medevac aircraft operating in Texas.
Mobile healthcare is a reality that will continue to evolve and grow as the existing resources in rural Nevada continue to dwindle. Saving lives can be stressful, frustrating, exhausting, and even unpleasant. Chris once noted that the challenges of saving lives in rural Nevada could be far more difficult than doing the same in Afghanistan! Emergency responders like Flight Paramedic Christopher Clark are our “Stars of Life” and deserve to be celebrated. If you were to ask Chris why he tirelessly sacrifices of himself, he’d tell you that it is simply the right thing to do; an innate value difficult to describe precisely. He knows and feels it: and AirMed thanks God that he does!