EL PASO, Texas – A 1st Armored Division Soldier will receive an Army Commendation Medal for rendering aid to a pedestrian struck by a car on Dec. 2 in El Paso, Texas.
Specialist Michael Ray, a combat medic (68W), assigned to the 123rd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, happened to witness the accident at the intersection of Sean Haggerty Drive and Marcos Uribe Drive and provided emergency aid.
The day unfolded with Ray waking up to a text message seeking volunteers for road guard duty for the holiday 5K run at Freedom Crossing on Fort Bliss. As a habitual early riser, he decided to lend a hand, not anticipating the events that would transpire.
As he left his apartment complex, he waited at a traffic light, and noticed a jogger crossing the intersection. In an instant, a speeding car ran the red light, colliding with the unsuspecting runner, propelling him into the air.
“I almost did not believe it,” Ray stated. “That split second felt like forever as if it were a daydream until I snapped out of it. Then I entered an autopilot mode to be a medic.”
Having recently participated in the 1st Armored Division Best Medic Competition, Ray still had his medical supplies in his car. Without hesitation, he activated his hazard lights, grabbed his medical bag, and rushed to the injured jogger's aid. The victim lay unconscious, displaying visible injuries, including road rash on his head and bleeding through his shirt.
Ray dialed 911, then initiated a comprehensive trauma assessment.
“I tried to find the extent of the injuries, which included an injured pelvis, a potentially life-threatening condition,” Ray said.
Drawing on his training, he applied a pelvic binder, providing critical assistance to stabilize the injured jogger. Amidst the chaos, another bystander arrived, also calling 911. Ray addressed head injuries, applied a cervical collar, and attended to lacerations, all while keeping the injured jogger warm with a rescue blanket to prevent hypothermia.
“And here I was in just jeans, doing this assessment and helping out,” Ray stated.
The police arrived, cordoning off the intersection, with later emergency services joining the scene. Ray relayed a detailed account of his interventions and the jogger's condition. Once the ambulance medical team had taken charge and Ray provided a police report, he proceeded with his initially planned road guard duty.
Captain Vanessa Sieg, the Battalion physician for 123rd BSB, felt Ray should be submitted for an award due to his selfless act.
She said of him; “Specialist Ray is one of those Soldiers who’s always trying to get better, look out for other people, and is motivated to be the absolute best medic he can be. I’m proud of Ray because he puts so much work into being a medic and the payoff is being able to help someone on the worst day of their life with ease and confidence.”
Reflecting on the experience, Ray expressed gratitude for being at the right place at the right time. He emphasized the importance of situational awareness for both pedestrians and drivers and encouraged people to remain vigilant, especially when crossing roads.
“This experience has given me a deeper appreciation for how fragile life could be and the need for mental resilience,” Ray said.
In the end, Ray’s calm and decisive actions showcased the invaluable role that trained individuals can play in emergencies, turning an ordinary Saturday morning into a life-saving endeavor.