Col. James Snyder congratulates Pfc. Dustin Hayes on his Army Commendation Medal Nov. 16 at the William F. Lyell U.S. Army Reserve Center in Nashville, Tenn. It was awarded for saving the life of 6-year-old Jayden Stine at the Comet Mart in Bucksnort, Tenn., Oct. 10.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Army News Service, Dec. 15, 2008) - Army Reserve Pfc. Dustin Hayes of the 332nd Medical Brigade was awarded the Army Commendation Medal Nov. 16 for saving the life of 6-year-old Jayden Stine.

Hayes, a convenient store clerk at the Comet Mart, in Bucksnort, Tenn., spent a normal Oct. 10 working when he noticed a commotion near the gas pumps.

Carol Stine, Jayden's mother, was pumping gas at the Comet Mart while her children were playing inside the vehicle.

"They were knocking on the window and waving to me," said Stine, "...I waited for a minute and went to the driver's side and noticed that Jayden was choking. I asked him if he was OK and he didn't answer me."

"I immediately jerked open the back door of my van and pulled him out of his car seat," said Stine, "and started giving him the Heimlich maneuver."

But she was unable to dislodge the object stuck in Jayson's windpipe.

"He was reaching out to me," said Stine, "By this time Jayden was turning blue and drooling and I started to panic."

Stine said she was hollering, but that people that she had known for years must have thought they were playing and walked right by, ignoring her calls for help.

Stine said she ran toward the store and almost made it to the door when she saw Hayes coming toward them.

"I thought I just ran outside," said Hayes, "but the next day one of my customers said to me, 'I didn't realize you could jump over that counter.'"

Hayes immediately realized that Jayden was choking and rushed to help.

Hayes grabbed Jayden and started the Heimlich maneuver, but was getting no response, so Stine hollered for other people to call 911.

"Dustin continued trying everything for Jayden," said Stine, "and finally got his gum to come out."

"He never gave up until Jayden started crying and was able to breathe again."

"I don't consider myself a hero," said Hayes, "Anyone in the unit would have done the same thing - it just happened to be me."

Hayes was awarded the ARCOM for meritorious service and heroics in saving the life of another.

"He is a true hero," said Col. James Snyder, 332nd Medical Brigade commander, "and is an example for others to follow - we are proud of him."

(Maj. John Heil serves as public affairs officer for the 332nd Medical Brigade.)

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