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Fire fighters and emergency medical personnel who saved veteran Marine Mark Eaker's life June 13, 2011 were visited by Eakers and his family June 14 at the mainside Quantico Fire Department in order to thank them for saving their loved one's life. Pictured are Sgt. Steve Denton, EMT; Eaker's childrenl; Lindsey Layla, Eaker's fiancee; Mark Eakers; Leon Hughes, fire inspector and Joseph Manning, fire fighter.

Photo by Valerie O'Berry

Getting a second chance at life

27 Jun 2017 | Valerie O'Berry/Editor Marine Corps Base Quantico

Second chances don’t come often, but when they do, it can be a tremendous thing.

Veteran Marine Sgt. Mark Eakers was given a second chance at life June 13, 2011, when the Quantico Fire Department responded to the scene of a serious motorcycle accident.  It was the I-95 on-ramp number 148 where they found Sgt. Mark Eakers of Security Battalion clinically dead.  He had no pulse, he had turned blue, his lungs had collapsed and his trachea was deviated to the left.  Typically, this would signal that there was nothing that could be done.  Fortunately for Eakers, the five fire fighters and emergency medical services personnel that arrived on this dismal scene that day decided not to give up on him.  They immediately began implementing every lifesaving measure they could.  In the end, they saved his life that day. 

In honor of their exceptional efforts that fateful day, Eakers, his fiancée Lindsey Layla, and their four children, traveled all the way from Florida by car six years later on the anniversary of his accident to personally thank the Quantico fire fighters and emergency medical services team for saving their loved one’s life.

“Without you, he wouldn’t be here, that’s a fact,” said Layla.

The entire family listened as the fire fighters who were on scene that fateful day recounted what happened. 

“He is a one percenter,” said Sgt. Steve Denton, emergency medical technician.  “When we left there (Sentara Hospital) we didn’t think he was going to make it.  We usually don’t receive any information once we drop them off at the hospital.”

EMS personnel and firefighters at the joyful reunion June 14 said they were thrilled to learn that he had survived the accident.   They also said that they had often thought about him through the years and often wondered what had happened to him.

Seeing Eakers walking, talking and showing that he was living a good quality of life – and that he had even had two children since the accident – is a day the fire fighters will never forget.

The fire fighters recounted some more of the story and recalled that they had called in an airlift to Fairfax, which has a trauma center.  However, in order to be airlifted, a patient must first have a pulse, according to the firefighters and EMS personnel. Chris Payne, the emergency medical technician primarily working on Eacker decided there was no time to lose in saving his life, so they quickly loaded him in the ambulance and headed for Sentara.  Payne worked on him the entire way to the hospital.  Right before they arrived at the hospital, Payne got a pulse and Eaker was then able to be airlifted to Fairfax, as the helicopter met them at Sentara.  The Quantico Fire Department personnel never knew what happened to him until the family visited the station.

“I want to apologize because it took six years for you to find out,” Layla said. 

All the fire fighters and EMS personnel on hand told her they are just glad they actually got to see the result of their efforts and that they were very thankful for that opportunity.

Marine Corps Base Quantico