Guardsman credited with helping save Devils Lake man’s life.

A North Dakota National Guard soldier says his military training helped him know what to do when he witnessed a man collapse in Devils Lake recently.

Maj. Mark McEvers, of Devils Lake, was playing in a recreational basketball league at Sweetwater Elementary School Dec. 8. After the first game, a player on the sidelines passed out and stopped breathing.  McEvers, who works full-time for the Guard as the executive officer and officer in charge of the 136th Combat Sustainment Support Brigade, grabbed the automated external defibrillator, or AED, device from the hallway.

In the meantime, another player checked the pulse of the collapsed man and found nothing. Witnesses say the man who collapsed began to turn blue. McEvers used the AED to bring him back. Another player then provided CPR to help sustain the victim until emergency personnel arrived. The man wouldn't have survived had it not been for the AED and CPR, the emergency responders said.

"It was a team effort by all involved," McEvers said. "I would like to personally thank the North Dakota National Guard for providing the training on the AED and having them located in our buildings. I am a true believer in their benefits to personnel utilizing our facilities. This organization gave me the knowledge to apply life-saving skills until the emergency responders showed up and took over."

The news of McEvers' actions comes just days after news of seven North Dakota National Guard Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment were credited with helping to save the life of a driver who crashed off of I-295 North in Washington, D.C.

"The actions of our Guardsmen not only on duty but in their off-duty time shows the ability, competency and caring nature of those who serve," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. "I'm thankful that they were there for those who needed help and that their training made it second-nature to provide the life-saving skills needed in both situations."

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 4,000 Soldiers and more than 2,400 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. About 70 percent of all members serving today have joined since that time. Currently, more than 40 North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas and more than 200 are on duty in Washington, D.C., and in Texas. With a total force of about 4,400 Guardsmen, the North Dakota National Guard remains ready for stateside response and national defense. For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that's more than four times the national average.