Spartan Soldier saves life, receives key to city
April 20, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The Key to the City of Richmond Hill, Ga., was awarded to Sgt. Walter Boyle, 3rd Squadron, 7th U.S. Cavalry, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division after saving the life of a choking Richmond Hill native. The Key was presented to Sgt. Boyle during a City Council meeting, held April 5.
Barbara Smiley, whom Sgt. Boyle spotted choking, after having dinner with his family in Richmond Hill, said during the presentation she was very grateful for all that he had done for her.
"The whole thing was kind of surreal," said Sgt. Boyle of the events of his rescue of Smiley.
"I remember my family and I were making our way through the parking lot, after having dinner in Richmond Hill, when suddenly we see this car driving at an angle through the parking lot with the driver's door open," said Sgt. Boyle.
"At first I wasn't sure what was happening with the driver of the car, but I knew something was wrong," Sgt. Boyle said. "So I went to take a closer look, and that is when I noticed Mrs. Smiley was trying to get out of the car while it was still moving and grasping at her throat."
Sergeant Boyle said from that moment he knew what had to be done. After several exhausting minutes of performing the Heimlich maneuver, to open Mrs. Smiley's airway, the food was dislodged. An exhausted Mrs. Smiley proclaimed, "Well there it is," to the recently dislodged food.
"I definitely wasn't expecting anything, especially a Key to the City," said Sgt. Boyle, "I just did what anyone would have done."
However, Sgt. Boyle's command was not surprised to hear of the Soldier's heroics.
"If I had to pick anyone I know who would have been the one Soldier to save Mrs. Smiley, I would have picked Sgt. Boyle," said 1st Sgt. Jon Sylvester, Troop B, 3-7th Cavalry, 2nd HBCT.
First Sergeant Sylvester said Sgt. Boyle, while a recent addition to the unit, has rapidly made an impression onto the unit by receiving honors for his work with the unit's Nuclear, Biological and Chemical facilities.
"Sergeant Boyle, as soon as he arrived here, has been a tremendously positive, well-rounded role model for all of our Soldiers," said 1st Sgt. Sylvester.