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 From Avid Gamer to First Responder: Meet Paxton Galvanek 


Posts: 4
Joined: 07 Jul 2004

      Posted: 02 Apr 2008 20:58 Profile

The Beginning

I joined the world in 1980 and was given the name Paxton Galvanek. I know it’s a crazy name but it helped because people tend to not forget a name like Paxton and for that I am thankful. As I grew up in the 1980s, I was slowly introduced to video games and computers. It started when my father purchased an Atari game console in 1983. As I child I played games like Pong, Pitfall and Frogger (one of my favorites). I had a hard time putting down that little joystick with the red button when my mother would call for dinner. The addiction had begun…

When I entered grade school I noticed that the library had this large “Apple” in the back of the room and by that I mean that there was a TV looking device with an apple icon on the case. I approached the librarian one day and asked her to show me how to use this “computer”. Playing computer games, I was able to control the actions of something external to me and my life, giving me an almost omnipotent power. Throughout 1st grade I spent all free time at school playing on that Apple computer. The passion had begun…

As I matured, so did technology. In 1985, my father brought home something called a Nintendo. I had a hard time pronouncing the name at first, but as time went by, Nintendo became a household name. My father purchased it with two games: Super Mario Brothers and Zelda. The hours and hours that my family spent sitting around the TV playing these games were incalculable. My three younger brothers and I bonded as we battled end bosses, completed quests and mastered many games in the Nintendo Entertainment System. Finally, it looks as though the “video game” had been acknowledged by my family as an acceptable activity. The love had begun…

Who I am today

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I think that I am a fairly “normal” individual, but the problem is that the “normal” is relative. I will try to explain who I am with a list of life details. I am a 28 year old male. While I was at Rutgers University studying Information Technology, I met Jessica whom I married in 2005. We have owned a three bedroom home in the Bridgewater, NJ area since 2003 and, in 2007, we had a son. I have been in the advertising industry from the moment I left college in 2002. I created Galvanek & Wahl Advertising Agency with my wife Jessica and over the past five years we have developed TV commercials, websites, and other branding efforts.

During the day, I am “the entrepreneur” or “the businessman” who runs a creative group of people working on high profile advertising projects. But this is not who I am at night. In 2003, I was introduced to the America’s Army video game. I developed an online community of video gamers called “The Wraiths” I formed the group to be a mature and respectful bunch of gamers with America’s Army in common. Over the past 5 years the group has grown to over 125 members, competed in many online competitions and played a wide variety of games including, the Battlefield Series and World of Warcraft.

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When night falls and my family goes to sleep, I close the business application on my computer and start my “gaming”. I put on a headset and log onto my Teamspeak Voice Server and meet up with the dozens of online gamers who I play with each night. Normally after I have my Teamspeak up and running, I start my America’s Army video game. I get about 3 hours of video gaming in per night This is my time to relax and feed my gaming addiction.

From Gamer to First Responder

I have been an avid America’s Army fan since 2003 and since my initial install I have been playing regularly. I found the in game training unique and interesting and the game play competitive to all other First Person Shooter games. I have been gaming for 20 years and I have never experienced such in-depth training as America’s Army offers. I took the time to complete all aspects of the training including the in-depth medic certification. I had never been exposed to this type of medic training before. While in High School I completed some basic CPR training but nothing like the Controlled Bleeding & Shock Treatment that was taught in the AA Medic Training.

On November 23rd, 2007 I was driving West-bound on I-40 in North Carolina with my wife, Jessica, and son, Trevor. We just passed through Fayetteville on our way to visit family in Raleigh, NC. About 25 miles south of Raleigh at 2:00pm I witnessed an out of control SUV on the South-bound lanes flip about five times along the road. While my wife called 911, I stopped my vehicle, ran across the highway and got to the scene of the accident.

I quickly assessed the situation and looked for wounded. I found two victims in the vehicle. I noticed that the vehicle was smoking but not on fire, so I felt I needed to get these two men out of the vehicle and to safety. I helped the passenger out of the truck and noticed he only had minor cut and injuries. I asked him how many people were in the car and told him that my wife had called the police. I told the man to get clear of the smoking car as I quickly went to the driver's side to find the other wounded man. I got the door open and pulled the driver out of the vehicle and brought him to the side of the road. I noticed that he had lost 2 fingers in the accident and was gushing blood. I also noticed that he had a cut on his head. I located a towel and put pressure on the man’s hand. I instructed him to sit down and hold the towel against his lost fingers. I told him to hold his hand above his head and to keep pressure on the wound. I then attended to his head cut and noticed that it was not as serious as his hand.

Roughly two minutes later, a Solider in plain clothing arrived on the scene of the accident and informed me that he was medically trained and could take over until the paramedics arrived. He looked over the injured men and told me that I did a great job. I searched the scene of the accident trying to locate the man’s fingers but could not find them. The two men were out of harm’s way and, because there was nothing more that I could do, I left the scene of the accident and drove home being forever changed by the incident I witnessed.

As I look back on the events of that day, I now know that the training I received in the America’s Army video game gave me the confidence to help at the scene of the accident. I remember vividly in section four of the game -- the medic training, the field medic scenarios, having to evaluate the situation and place priority on the more critically wounded, etc. In the case of this accident, I evaluated the situation and placed priority on the driver of the car with missing fingers. I then recalled section two of the medic training, “Controlled Bleeding”, and noticed that the wounded man had severe bleeding that he could not control. I used a towel as a dressing and asked the man to hold the towel on his wound and raise his hand above his head to lessen the blood flow. This allowed me to evaluate his other injuries which included the cut on his head.

I hope that someone would come to my aid if I was ever in a situation like the one described above. Life is valuable and as humans we should do everything in our power to help preserve it. I don’t consider myself a “hero”. I think that I was put in front of a situation that tested me as a normal human and I had the confidence and knowledge to step up and confront that situation.

A few months ago, I contacted the AA developers and thanked them for the foresight of putting the medic training into the game. I was not looking for media attention but, now that the story has been made public, I believe it’s important to help promote the positive aspects of gaming, video games and America’s Army.
Again, I just wanted to thank the America’s Army game developers for including the realistic training into the video game. It truly helped in this real life situation.

The Future of Gaming

Video gamers are not the lazy, unmotivated, murderers the media has described us as. There is so much negative connotation placed around gaming and gamers these days and it’s our turn to prove all those media sources wrong. As a whole, gamers are business owners, web designers, cashiers, painters, welders or just “normal” people. As responsible video gamers it’s going to be our job to prove to the general public that we in fact add value to society. The positive stories need to be heard too.

My story about the NC car accident is only one of many positive stories. I have story after story about my group of Wraiths helping each other in real life. As gamers, we strive to build friendships, help each other with social or family problems, give each other a laugh or help with technical questions.

If developers can keep games fun and interesting while adding an educational aspect we will have the ideal situation that helps train the next generation.

Last edited by Wraiths_Paxton on 03 Apr 2008 10:53; edited 4 times in total

Posts: 4
Joined: 07 Jul 2004

      Posted: 02 Apr 2008 21:14 Profile

Paxton on FoxNews

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I had the honor of being on FoxNews on Jan 19th, 2008 with Colonel Wardynski for a few minutes to discuss the game and the incident. I wish i had the chance to talk about the positive aspect of video gaming, but there was only about 1 minute alotted to our story and it was important to promote the game. It was a great experience and I am thankful for the opportunity.

After the press release was sent to the public, the article had made it's way to a staff writer at, who wrote up his own version of the release. I found the article in the middle of the night and had to wake my wife up from a sound sleep to prove to her that I was actually written up on

It was an honor.

The Adam Carolla Radio Show

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On January 24th, 2008 I was asked to speak on the Adam Carolla Radio Show. Adam was interested in the story and wanted to see how a video game could possible help save someone's life. Adam Carolla is a popular actor and comedy who had hit shows such as Crank Yankers and the Man can see him now a days dancing on the show "Dancing with the Stars".

Adam interviewed me and asked me about the incident and my gaming experience. He also went into a rant on how games should teach people life lessons to help better the general population. It was a great time, and Adam was a fun guy to talk to.

Her is a link to Adam's Website:

Here is an MP3 copy of the Broadcast:

The 2 Dorks Radio Show

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So there is this unique little Radio show in Davenport, Iowa called the Dwyer & Michaels Show or AKA the 2 Dorks. The 2 primary hosts and their producer Beth interviewed me and spoke about the incident, the America's Army game and the future of online game training.

Here is a Link to their Website:

Here is also an MP3 link to the Radio Broadcast:


Volunteer Community Manager
Volunteer Community Manager
Posts: 2495
Joined: 14 Oct 2005

      Posted: 05 Apr 2008 11:57 Profile United States

Awesome story, I enjoyed watching you and Colonel Wardynski on Fox and Friends.

Keep up the good work Cheesy Grin

Last edited by [Coe] on 21 May 2009 14:04; edited 1 time in total

Posts: 2
Joined: 29 Apr 2010

      Posted: 29 Apr 2010 22:07 Profile

My story about the NC car accident is only one of many positive stories. I have story after story about my group of Wraiths helping each other in real life. As gamers, we strive to build friendships, help each other with social or family problems, give each other a laugh or help with technical questions.

If developers can keep games fun and interesting while adding an educational aspect we will have the ideal situation that helps train the next generation.

 From Avid Gamer to First Responder: Meet Paxton Galvanek 

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