Army training saves a life
July 23, 2009
By Jeremy Wise
- Motorcycle safety instructor saved by trained samaritans
FORT RUCKER, Ala.--Since February, Brandy Daniels has searched for a way to show her true appreciation to three strangers who saved the life of her husband, Earl Daniels. The U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center (USACRC) recently helped her with the answer.
The USACRC awarded the Safety Guardian Award to WO1 Jacob Nuss, B Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, and a civilian safety certificate to Devin Broadwater July 9 for heroic actions that saved Earl's life after a motorcycle accident almost four months ago. "
Their actions frankly saved the life of Mr. Daniels," said USACRC Commanding General and Director of Army Safety Brig. Gen. William T. Wolf.
"Without their actions, it could have been a different story." Daniels, a motorcycle safety instructor here, expressed his gratitude.
"I'm very grateful. They not only saved me but (also) a husband and a dad," Daniels, a retired master sergeant, said of the actions of Nuss, Broadwater and 1st Lt. Thomas Wagner, currently stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. The events leading up to the men's lifesaving actions occurred Feb. 19 when Wagner, Daniels and Nuss headed to work here and Broadwater to classes at Enterprise High School.
As Daniels neared the Enterprise gate, another vehicle struck him on his right side. Daniels' right leg was crushed 6 inches below the knee, and his right pelvis broke in five places. Broadwater witnessed the accident and immediately dialed 911. Soon after, Wagner arrived to provide further assistance. "I pulled up ... and knew something wasn't right," Wagner said. "Three people were there, but they didn't know what to do."
Through medical training received at the U.S. Military Academy, Wagner assessed Daniels' injuries and determined he needed a tourniquet. "His leg was pretty much severed," he said. Wagner pulled off his Army Combat Uniform (ACU) belt and used it to try to stop Daniels' bleeding. He realized the belt was only slowing the bleeding, so Wagner had Broadwater remove one of the shirts he was wearing on that winter morning. Wagner tied the shirt around a tire iron to create a makeshift tourniquet.
While Wagner fashioned the improvised tourniquet, Nuss arrived on scene, and provided more help that aided in saving Daniels' life. During an Iraq tour, a platoon medic recommended to Nuss and other Soldiers they carry a tourniquet kit while on patrol, a practice he brought home when his tour of duty concluded. Nuss said he is glad the Army instilled first-aid practices like those in his training. "Nothing would have made me more (sad) than to arrive unprepared," he said.
After noticing a pool of blood on the road, Nuss pulled the tourniquet kit out of his glove compartment box and rushed to Daniels' aid, just shortly after Wagner had applied his makeshift tourniquet. The fact that Nuss had a tourniquet has amazed many.
"It was pretty clutch at that moment," Wagner said. "It's just amazing the odds of someone having a tourniquet. I think Gen. Wolf was even amazed," Daniels said. Nuss' tourniquet stopped Daniels' bleeding, and the combined actions of Broadwater, Wagner and Nuss saved his life. By the time medical personnel reached Daniels, he had lost four pints of blood. "My understanding is that if you lose five (pints), there's not much (medical professionals) can do for you," Nuss said.
Daniels, who had the injured portion of his lower right leg amputated, spent two weeks in two different hospitals as he recovered from the accident. Daniels is now back at work and said he has a new lesson to teach his students. "It doesn't matter how safe you are, accidents can still happen. Being prepared was the difference between my leg and my life," he said.
Nuss offers similar advice. "(Everyone) should seek out some kind of first aid training. It can be the difference between life and death," he said. Wagner said he now keeps a tourniquet kit in his vehicle. Even though the awards show the Army's appreciation, the Daniels Family said they will keep in touch with Broadwater, Nuss and Wagner as part of their gratitude.
Brandy Daniels is still searching for a way to show her true appreciation. "I don't know how to say thank you to someone who helps your husband come home," she said.