Soldier takes action during motorcycle collision aftermath
July 20, 2009
- Soldier's training stands her in good stead
- Victim grateful; says "Army instills values"
Ask any Soldier and they'll probably tell you that practice and training are imperative parts of a mission. But implementing those actions in a real situation is different from repetitive practice sessions. When real-life situations occur, people find out what they're made of and whether that hard work has been effective.
While traveling home from Fort Polk, southbound on La. Hwy 171 June 5, Spc. Billie Hebner, medic and non-commissioned officer in charge, attached to 209th Military Police Company, 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, encountered one of those real-life situations.
Hebner witnessed an accident June 5 and pulled over to assist. "A truck pulling out from a stop sign hit a sports bike right in front of me. They collided and the young man was ejected from his bike," she said.
Hebner rendered first aid. "Being a medic, I just did what came naturally. The person on the motorcycle was the only injury, so I made sure he was still conscious and comfortable. The rider's arm was fractured and my 10 years as a medic helped because I knew exactly what to do. For a motorcycle accident, the injuries could have been a lot worse," said Hebner.
Her commander said he was impressed with what Hebner did. "A lot of people drive by these days if a car is broken down or something happens. It's more about stopping to look and drive on, but she stopped and assisted. She did what she was trained to do, but not just for her Soldiers, she took care of civilians as well. I think that shows she cares about what she does and about the people she is helping," said Capt. Andrew Hoeprich, commander, 209th MP Co.
Hebner said it was all about doing the right thing. "I'm a motorcycle rider myself and I hope if something like this ever happens to me, there would be somebody there to help."
The accident victim, Ted Stoneburner, is a veteran Soldier working at Cubic. Stoneburner is grateful that Hebner drove by when she did. "I'm so glad she stopped to helped me. She showed up and took control of the scene. She directed other people who had stopped to help me by holding my head still in case of spinal injury, stabilizing my arm (it was broken in six places) and directing traffic. I'm glad the Army instills values like selfless service. I believe she is a prime example of that," said Stoneburner.
Hoeprich said Hebner, his senior medic, is compassionate about her work. "It's not just in this incident. She puts a lot of effort into everything she does. I think how she reacted to the accident shows who she is, as well as her dedication and compassion for her fellow man," he said.
Hebner said the accident has had a sobering effect. "I didn't ride my bike for two weeks after I witnessed the accident. I already wear all the protective gear to avoid injury, but now I'm being a lot more careful," said Hebner.
Hebner said the attention the accident has drawn upon her is unnecessary. "I wouldn't say I'm uncomfortable with the attention; I just did what I would hope any normal person would do. I followed the instincts of my job. I don't feel I did anything special," said Hebner.