Nov. 5, 2007
Topeka, Kan. — Paul David Meek, a 1998 Baker University School of Nursing graduate, has been named one of the nation’s top 10 nurse heroes for the past two years.
Meek, a trauma specialist and emergency department nurse at Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center, was recognized during a ceremony on Saturday in Baltimore at the 39th biennial convention of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. He was honored for his volunteer rescue work during the flooding near Rossville, Kan., in October 2005.
Until the flooding two years ago, Meek had never done a water rescue. He and search and rescue team members rescued 75 people, including 56 from the local nursing home.
Wearing only a wetsuit, Meek and his team worked a harrowing 17 hours to rescue adults and children. He said his scariest recollection was holding an infant over the floodwaters as the infant’s family climbed into the rescue boat.
“That’s when I realized … you have the lives of this entire family in your hands,” he said. “We were almost swept away when we tried to get to them initially. The nurse in me thought, ‘There’s no way I’m going to let go of that baby until it is back in the mother’s arms.’ That’s where the nursing skills come in. Whether it’s an ER, floor nurse, school nurse — sometimes when things happen, nurses are people who keep calm, look at the situation and take care of the people. No matter how insurmountable it may seem.”
Meek’s honors included a crystal award engraved with his name.