By Douglas DeMaioDecember 8, 2008
BAMBERG, Germany - In the wee hours of Aug. 3, Staff Sgt. John Jestis never expected his late night out would end in him saving the life of a woman he had never met.
Jestis, a medic in 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, arrived at the scene of an accident on the corner of Berliner Ring and Memmelsdorfer Strasse at around 12:15 a.m.
He administered first aid to a woman who had suffered an open fracture and was bleeding severely, Jestis said. She had severed her muscles and tendons on her left forearm.
"As soon as I saw what was going on, I just acted on instinct," Jestis said. "When I stopped to help, things were going so fast I didn't have time to really think about how things were going. I wrapped her arm in a cloth to stop the bleeding by providing manual presser. As I was doing that, I was trying to keep her calm so that she would not go in to shock."
Jestis, who is from Danville, Ill., provided care for the injured woman until emergency medical services arrived.
The medical training he has learned in the Army, along with real-life experience in treating trauma victims, helped him to understand the situation better and to care for the victim's wounds, Jestis said.
"Medical training is vital for everyone to know," he said. "You never know when you will be in that situation. It feels good that you have done something for someone. It makes me feel more like a person than I have felt before. "
In an official letter of thanks to Jestis from the Bamberg Police department, because of Jestis' actions, "physical impairment was prevented" and "the woman's life was saved."
"From what I was told, because of what I had done for her, she was able to keep her left forearm after being submitted into emergency surgery," Jestis said. "She had gone through six operations, been going through physical therapy and is doing well."
Jestis said he has kept in touch with the woman and is modest about the situation.
"I was just at the right place with the right knowledge to help someone who needed help," he said. "I am no different than anyone else in the military community or even the Bamberg community; I don't put myself above anyone else, but I do put the needs of others that I take care of before my own."
The police department called Jestis' actions "selfless" and deserving of the "highest recognition."
Although Jestis has not received an award from the Army, he said his actions aren't quid pro quo.
"It's more of the act of doing the right thing out of the respect for life," he said. "Maybe, one day, if I am in that same situation, someone will do the same for me. "
"Many Soldiers do things above and beyond their duties that go unseen," he said.