Parisien recognized for saving life in fire


By Sandy Bond

Responding to a “911” house fire call in McLaughlin on March 9, Standing Rock EMT Justin Parisien realized there was one individual still trapped in the blazing inferno. Firefighters had not yet arrived on the scene. Breaking a window, he entered the home by pushing through the shards of glass in the window frame.  Remembering that more people are overcome by smoke and that air is nearest the floor, he crawled on his hands and knees to try to locate the individual.

“Even with a flashlight,” he said, “you couldn’t see two feet in front of you.”

He had to return to the window three times to gasp for air. On the fourth try he finally found the victim’s leg and pulled him safely from the building to the cheers of his fellow EMTs and firefighters. Immediately beginning CPR, he said felt so blessed when the young man began to breathe on his own.

Justin is a full-time Emergency Medical Technician at Standing Rock Ambulance and on-call at Mobridge Ambulance. Justin and Lily and their children Tristian, 8, Tyleigha, 6, TateAyanna, 3, and Tiara, 1, live in Mobridge.

Justin serves 40 hours on duty and 40 hours off at Standing Rock, and realizing the scarcity of EMTs he also serves on call at Mobridge Ambulance.

“We could have lost you,” was all Lily could think of as her husband Justin was awarded a plaque by Dean Pegors, Director, EMS Services, “For Service Above And Beyond The Call of Duty,” by Standing Rock Ambulance at ceremonies during EMS Week.

EMT’s respond to innumerable emergencies, and no two will ever be quite the same. Oftentimes braving inclement weather and responding to horrendous accidents, their promptness and skill can make a difference between a visit to the ER and a visit to the coroner.

The son of Helen and James Parisien, Justin and his siblings grew up all over the upper Midwest as his dad was in law enforcement. Graduating from Marty Indian School in 1999, Justin knew he wanted a career just like his dad. Justin received his associate’s degree from Mitchell Technical Institute in 2002, and his associate’s degree in information technology from Sitting Bull College at the Ft. Yates campus in 2004. In 2005, he received his para-medical training at Bismarck State College. He was employed by Mobridge Ambulance from 2005 to 2006, and still finds gratification serving the cities and towns in each district.

Justin admits he has had a few “close calls” but it’s just another day at the office.

“Serving the people and their families is the best reward one can receive,” he said. “I am so blessed for all that I have accomplished and looking forward to things to come. I am very happy for the strength and support that I receive from my family and friends and know that without the support I would not be the person that I am today.”

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