Soldier's training saves life of a German child
June 2, 2011
HOHENFELS, Germany -- A Hohenfels Soldier’s quick action saved the life of a drowning local national girl at a public swimming pool in Burglengenfeld last month.
Spc. Jeffery Lumley, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment and his family visited the pool on April 16, and had been playing with their daughter for approximately 10 minutes, when his wife Scharihen decided to retrieve something from their baby bag. Crossing the pool, she noticed a 3-year-old child lying motionless on the bottom in roughly 4.5 feet of water.
“The credit goes to my wife’s situational awareness,” Lumley said. “There were people all around and no one noticing this little girl.”
Scharihen pulled the girl from the water, and realizing the situation was dire, bellowed for help. Lumley responded instantly.
Checking her vitals, Lumley determined the child had no pulse and was not breathing.
“I don’t know exactly how long it takes for somebody to turn blue through their face and upper body, but she must have been under for a while without breathing,” Lumley said. “Once I realized the severity of the situation, getting her breathing and getting her heart restarted was of the utmost importance.”
“I swept her mouth to look for any obstructions, and then plugged her nose, did the head tilt, chin lift, and started breathing for her,” he said.
Lumley said the child immediately started coughing up water, but she still had no pulse. He performed another series of breaths and felt a noticeable rise in her chest. The child expelled more water, and then seemed to go into a seizure, with her jaw clenched tight before beginning to take small breaths on her own.
“She had a strong heartbeat by this time, and her eyes came back into focus,” he said.
By this time, the life guards arrived and then an ambulance rushed her to a nearby hospital where she remained in recovery for three days.
“Only due to the very quick and fast response of Mr. and Mrs. Lumley was the life of this child saved,” said Thomas Hecht, Chief of the Burglengenfeld Police Inspectorate. “This clearly demonstrates the good example of the great German-American friendship, as well as the integration of the Soldiers and family members into the community.”
“He’s very humble,” said Lt. Col. Rafael A. Paredes, 1- 4th Inf. Regt. commander. “He just credits everything to the training.”
“We’ve all done Combat Life-Saving training (CLS), but you can save a life in so many ways,” said Lumley. “Our medics do a good job of teaching us things like rescue breathing, which is not in the CLS course itself, but they teach us these things because there are going to be other situations where you may have to use these skills.”
“I just did what I was trained to do,” he added.
The Lumley’s spent mother’s day touring around Nuremberg with the Hamzai family, where daughter Alina presented them with a poster in thanks for saving her life.
“Basically it said, I celebrate my birthday twice a year now,” Lumley said. “We’ve become life-long friends.”
Col. John M. Spiszer, Joint Multinational Readiness Center commander, presented Lumley with the Army Commendation Medal for his heroism and a Certificate of Achievement to Scharihen, May 26.
“The real reward in all this is being in the right place at the right time and being able to help that little girl,” said Lumley. “People think our job in the Army is focused on combat, but I think we’re more about helping people, and to use the skills the Army’s taught me to help a little girl feels great.”