By Ms. Fonda R Bock (USAREC)April 30, 2014
TULSA, Okla., (April 30, 2014) -- When Future Soldier William Sanders joined the Army in November he said it's because he wanted to make a difference - and he has. On April 12, the Kellyville, Okla.,18-year-old high school senior saved a man's life.
It happened at the gas station convenience store where Sanders works as a cashier, stocking shelves and doing basic maintenance.
That day, a man with blood dripping from his arm walked into the store restroom. When the man didn't emerge a few minutes later, Sanders went to check on him and found the man unresponsive behind a locked stall door. Sanders told a co-worker to call 911, then crawled underneath the door to unlock it.
That's when he noticed the man's knife and phone were laying in a puddle of blood and that blood was still pouring out of the man's self inflicted wound.
"I kicked his knife away from him and grabbed some paper towels to try to apply pressure to slow down the blood flow," said Sanders. "I then took off my belt and wrapped it around his arm and tightened it to cut off the circulation."
Sanders pulled the man out of the stall, laid his body out straight, elevating his feet above his heart.
"I began talking to him. I asked him his name and he responded with Cody. I told him my name and asked him what happened. He had no response but asked me to call his wife," said Sanders. "He said the number and I tried to call, but got no response and told him that.
Sanders continued talking to the man just to keep him conscious.
"I attempted to treat him for shock and made sure he didn't fall asleep. I remained with him until EMS showed up. They came in and removed my belt and applied gauze to his wounds, then they got him on a stretcher and took him out."
Tulsa South Center Commander Sgt. 1st Class Joshusa Baggett said Williams stopped the man's bleeding using first aid knowledge he'd learned during Future Soldier training.
"To be honest I acted on impulse, I just acted upon the incident," the Future Soldier said. "I was scared, I'm not going to lie, but I remained there and did what I had to."
Baggett, who interviewed Sanders when he inquired about being a Soldier, is proud of how the young man was able to handle this life threatening situation.
"It took me back," said Baggett. "He hasn't even been to basic training, hasn't yet earned the title of Soldier. For an 18-year old kid to fall back on his training like that, to take what he'd learned, remember it, apply it in a real life situation and stay cool and laid back in the process, threw me for a loop.
"And it made me and the Future Soldier trainers proud to know that the training we're giving Future Soldiers has been used to save a man's life. It gives you a good feeling, it validates the worth of the training program and makes you feel like you're not wasting your time when you train Future Soldiers."
After EMS arrived and transported the man to the hospital, Williams went back to work and finished his shift.
Baggett was not surprised by that.
"He's a very disciplined young man and he's been like that from the beginning," said Baggett. "He was a little overweight when he enlisted, but has lost about 35 or 40 pounds. He has set his goal and continues to push forward."
Williams ships to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Aug. 18.