By USASOC PAOOctober 27, 2009
MANY Soldiers attend the Combat Lifesaver's Course throughout their careers, learning emergency first aid such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, rescue breathing and how to control bleeding.
"I never thought it would be something that I would need to use," said Spc. Kimberly Hernandez, the administration assistant for the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group.
For Hernandez, Jan. 25 began like any other day. She had stopped at a store in Hope Mills, N.C., to get her son some candy when her day took an unexpected turn.
"I had just pulled into the parking lot, when a lady started screaming that her husband was having a heart attack-that he passed out," she said. "She was acting really frantic. I am sure I would have been doing the same thing. She's yelling, screaming. Everyone is just standing there, watching."
Hernandez dialed 9-1-1. She relayed her location, described the situation that was developing, and told the operator that she had the training to help him.
Hernandez then climbed into the passenger seat of the couple's sport utility vehicle.
"I opened his airway and he was unresponsive and making a gurgling sound at first," Hernandez said. "I kept talking to him in a forceful tone, and monitoring his breathing. I know I couldn't do chest compression because he was still in the car, it wouldn't have helped.
"After keeping his airway open for approximately 10 minutes, he was breathing on his own. As I was talking to him, I would look over to the wife to explain to her what I was doing. Eventually he started responding by moaning and that is when the paramedics arrived."
"She moved to the back seat and held the patient's head as our crews administered oxygen, eventually bringing him back around," said Charles Hodges, the Hope Mills Fire Chief.
"Had she not stopped and rendered service, there could have been a different outcome. Her actions definitely benefitted the patient," he added.
Hernandez called the paramedics later that day to ensure the man was doing fine. Those who work with Hernandez expected nothing less.
"This doesn't surprise me at all," said Staff Sgt. Eric Tyler, the administration noncommissioned officer in charge of 2nd Bn., 1st SWTG. "She is an all-around Soldier in her abilities and always puts forth her best effort. She will make a great NCO!"
The mother of three was humble as she reflected on her actions that winter day. "I didn't have time to think about it. I knew someone was in trouble and I knew I was the only one around to help-it was my duty as a Soldier to help."