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John Zivic, left, is reunited with Army medic Jacqueline Kershaw of South Korea's Camp Casey on Saturday during the 10th Firecracker Shootout Interservice Softball Tournament at Field 2, Foster Athletics Complex, Camp Foster, Okinawa. Kershaw is one of five people credited with saving the life of Zivic, a basketball referee for more than 40 years. He collapsed and suffered a heart attack during January's Martin Luther King Basketball Tournament; Kershaw, who played for Area I's basketball team, and four others rushed to his side to perform CPR.

John Zivic, left, is reunited with Army medic Jacqueline Kershaw of South Korea's Camp Casey on Saturday during the 10th Firecracker Shootout Interservice Softball Tournament at Field 2, Foster Athletics Complex, Camp Foster, Okinawa. Kershaw is one of five people credited with saving the life of Zivic, a basketball referee for more than 40 years. He collapsed and suffered a heart attack during January's Martin Luther King Basketball Tournament; Kershaw, who played for Area I's basketball team, and four others rushed to his side to perform CPR. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Well before Area I secured the women’s title here Sunday in the 10th Firecracker Shootout Interservice Softball Tournament, third baseman Jacqueline Kershaw’s weekend was made.

Kershaw, an Army medic assigned to Camp Casey in South Korea, was reunited Saturday with a basketball referee whose life she helped save during January’s Martin Luther King Invitational Tournament.

"Amazing," Kershaw said after chatting with John Zivic at Foster Field 2. "I’m at a loss for words. I’m just happy he’s here."

Kershaw’s Area I team crushed Yard Busters of Okinawa 27-16 in the Firecracker Tournament championship Sunday at Foster Field 2.

Kershaw, 30, a sergeant from Columbia, S.C., also played for the Area I team in the MLK tournament. She was one of five medics and corpsmen who rushed to Zivic’s side when he collapsed while officiating an MLK game Jan. 20 at the Foster Field House.

U.S. Naval Hospital Camp Lester officials credited their CPR work for saving Zivic’s life. He was hospitalized for two months at Urasoe Heart Center, then spent three weeks learning how to walk again at a rehabilitation center.

"You never know who you’re going to run into; that’s the military," Zivic said of Kershaw. "I owe so much to so many people. Bless her for being there."

Zivic, 72, a retired Air Force master sergeant from Lorraine, Ohio, has been refereeing basketball since 1966 and has officiated 14 DODDS-Pacific Far East tournament title games since 1971.

He had been a civilian area coordinator for Camp Kinser when he was stricken. He now is a health and wellness counselor for Marine Corps Community Services Okinawa. He’s due to retire in 11 months.

When Kershaw learned she was going to Okinawa for the Firecracker, "I told myself I had to see him," she said. "Then I got to see him, I got my picture taken with him. I’m so happy."

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.
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