By Capt. Addie Randolph, 80th Training Command (TASS) Public AffairsNovember 13, 2015
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Staff Sgt. Katie Govoni was at a food truck on 4th and Liberty with friends, when at approximately 2 a.m., she heard two women screaming for help.
Govoni looked up to see one of the women running across the street narrowly avoiding an oncoming car. She realized that the woman was Melissa Snader whom she'd met briefly for the first time earlier at a popular hot spot called "Fourth Street Live."
Melissa clutched her chest in pain as she screamed for help. She and her sister Sherrie were bleeding from stab wounds to their chests after they fought off an attacker who tried to rob them, Aug. 23, 2015. They were returning from Sherrie's bachelorette party at "Fourth Street Live" when they encountered the attacker.
Govoni, who as a Reserve Soldier is a health care specialist instructor assigned to the 100th Training Division, Fort Knox, Ky., directed two of her friends, Staff Sgt. Josh Smith and Sgt. Micah Stoke, to help Sherrie. Smith and Stoke, at the time, were assigned to the Army Recruiting School, Fort Knox.
Govoni was able to locate the wound on Melissa's chest even though the injured woman was panicking.
"I asked her if she believed in miracles, and she nodded," said Govoni, who in her civilian capacity is an Emergency Medical Technician in Boston. "I asked her to pray, because she had found ... a group of Soldiers, and one was a medic."
Govoni got a Ziploc bag from the food truck and placed it on the wound. Plastic on a chest wound works as a one way valve that creates a seal, which causes the lungs to expand when the victim inhales.
Sherrie was on the verge of passing out, so Govoni took over from Smith and Stoke. She handed Stoke the Ziploc bag with a towel, and told him to apply direct pressure to Melissa's wound.
Sherrie was able to talk, but she looked pale. Her pupils were dilated and her pulse was weak. Govoni was worried she'd go into shock. She grabbed another towel from the food truck and applied direct pressure to the wound.
"I kept telling Sherrie to talk to me, and asked about her future husband, but her answers were becoming less and less coherent," Govoni said.
Sherrie's breathing got difficult, then she stopped talking. Govoni had a bystander apply pressure to the wound as she worked on getting air into Sherrie's lungs. After nearly a minute Sherrie began to vomit.
By then Smith and Stoke had stabilized Melissa, so Smith helped Govoni fully open the airway and clear the vomit. Sherrie Suddenly took a huge breath, sat up, and immediately asked about her sister.
Louisville EMS arrived and took over from the Soldiers before transporting them to a local hospital.
Dr. Jason Smith, a trauma doctor who treated the sisters, said, the Soldiers' actions are consistent with the training first responders receive.
"They didn't have the resources ... on the side of the road...to assess them [the victims] the way we do in the hospital," Smith said. "So, you assume the worst case scenario and do exactly what the Soldiers did."
Brig. Gen. Jason Walrath, commander 100th TD, awarded the Meritorious Service Medal to Govoni for her efforts in helping the sisters.