For Staff Sgt. Eduardo A. St. Paul Popo, February 13 was the day his wife and child were flying back from Texas after visiting a relative.He would drive down to Richmond airport to pick up his family, and return to work at Joint Base Langley-Eustis where he serves as a 15Y AIT instructor at A Co., 1-210th Aviation Regiment, 128th Aviation Brigade, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence.While traveling home from the airport, about 6 miles from the exit to his house, the Popos saw a vehicle up ahead lose control on the highway, and roll over multiple times before coming to rest upside down.Popo pulled off the road, and immediately rushed to the scene. Smoke was coming from the vehicle, the engine was still running, and the driver was trapped inside.To get to the driver, he broke a window with his bare hands and removed any shards of glass.With the help of another person who also stopped, he was able to pull the driver out of the car and get him to safety, and assess for any injuries.Popo stayed with the disoriented driver and continued to talk to him to keep him awake and ensure he did not go into shock, until the emergency responders arrived.For his quick thinking and exceptional emergency response to a potentially life threatening situation that day, he recently was awarded the U.S. Army Guardian Safety Award.Popo said his only thought in those moments, with the vehicle smoking and still running, was getting the driver out of the car and to safety.“I just did what I hope someone else would do for me,” Popo said.Popo had informed his supervisor that day that he was running late because of an accident on the highway, but not about his efforts to help. It wasn’t until Popo’s wife posted about the incident on social media and a fellow NCO saw it that his brave act came to the chain of command’s attention.As Popo’s wife and child looked on from their car that day, the uncertain situation could have gone either way, explained Staff Sgt. Jonathan M. Yaeger, a 15Y AIT Instructor/Platoon Sergeant, and Popo’s supervisor.“To be honest, they could have witnessed something on one side heroic, and the other side heroic as well as devastating, with husband/father trying to save a complete stranger. He was willing to put himself out there for someone he’s never met. Staff Sgt. Popo did a great job,” Yaegar said.The incident was not the first time Popo made the decision to take care of others.Raised on the island of St. Lucia, he came to the United States with ambitions to pursue an education, but the desire to take care of his family made him rethink his path.“At the time, due to the financial situation of my family, if I had gone to college my younger brother would not have been able to have been provided that opportunity. So after weighing the pros and cons, I finally decided to join the Army. That way I could take care of myself, try to get some schooling done, get a job, and also be able to provide a better opportunity for my younger brother as well,” he said.Popo joined the Army in 2010 to become a 15Y, an AH-64D Armament/Electrical/Avionics Repairer. An early deployment to Afghanistan in 2012 as a young Private 1st Class maintainer pushed him to grow.“That (deployment) actually helped me a lot due to the fact that this happened not too long after I had made it to my first duty station, so it forced me to learn a lot - and learn a lot quickly. When you’re in a deployment it’s all just about work and keeping the aircraft flying. It was almost like sink or swim. So that actually benefited me in the long run, I find,” he said.He later deployed to Iraq in 2017 as an NCO, to serve as a unit movement officer where he balanced his duties of keeping the aircraft flying and also managing Soldiers.The Army provides an opportunity for people to mature through the circumstances they are placed in, develop people skills and have new experiences, he explained.“In general I find with being in the Army, you get people from all walks of life. Some may have never left their home state or their hometown. And so by having all those people come together, with a myriad of experiences and knowledge of different life goals or experiences, you’re able to take a little bit from all of that, and it helps you grow,” Popo said.As an NCO instructor based at JBLE, his priority is still looking out for others.“Throughout my time in the military I’ve had leaders that did a little of both, some of them focused on Soldiers, some focused on the mission. The ones that resonated with me the most was focusing on the Soldier,” Popo said. “At the end of the day if I’m not taking care of the Soldiers, they can’t take care of the mission.”Placing emphasis on people creates a climate of motivation for his Soldiers.“You get to a certain point where now, rather than trying to convince people to do something, they do it because they want to. They do it because they know that you have their back. They do it because they know at the end of the day if they need something you’ll do it for them. And they know that the same thing that I’m asking of them is something that I’ve done before already,” he said.His current role of “forwarding the profession” -- making sure the students have the qualifications for soldiering as well as maintaining Army aircraft, is a good fit for him, he said.“I feel like I’m making more of an impact,” Popo said.While Popo was focused on selfless service over the past decade, he also realized some of his own goals. He now has a ruck sack filled with experience he would not have gotten anywhere else, and a family of his own. And his younger brother just became a college graduate.