By Derek Gean (Fort Wood Community Editor)September 17, 2015
A local Reserve Soldier, who went through Basic Combat Training here during the summer, took the lead in helping save the life of an O'Fallon, Missouri man Aug. 29.
Chris McDonald, a Newburg (Missouri) High School senior and JROTC cadet at the Waynesville Career Center, responded to an incident where the 24-year-old man was hit by a train, causing amputation of his legs. McDonald applied tourniquets and performed lifesaving procedures until emergency medical services responded -- attributing his skills to his Fort Leonard Wood Army training.
"I acted without thinking -- it was muscle memory," McDonald said. "I learned a little bit about first aid in JROTC, but basic training is where I learned most of it."
McDonald responded to the incident when the brother of the victim ran to his house and asked McDonald and a friend to call 911. The victim had been canoeing down the Big Piney River and left the embankment to take a break. Officials believe the man passed out on the railroad tracks.
McDonald didn't hesitant when the call-to-action came; he instantly took charge of the situation.
"I felt like I actually knew what to do. I have a purpose in this world. The Army knows what they are doing when they are training," he said.
Charles Williams, senior JROTC program instructor at Waynesville High School, is hoping the Army will honor McDonald for his efforts.
"Had Chris not responded, this young man (the victim), would have likely died," Williams said.
"He reacted because that is the kind of young man he is, and his training, from just recently completing BCT, and his training from JROTC, allowed him to perform lifesaving steps quickly and correctly."
McDonald is a private with the 955th Engineer Company. He is scheduled to graduate from Newburg High School in May and then go through Advanced Individual Training during the summer of 2016. After training, he hopes to enroll in ROTC and pursue his goal of becoming an Army officer.
Williams said he believes McDonald will make a great Soldier.
"He is a very hard worker, and will take initiative in the absence of orders. He pays attention, and is a learner," Williams said.