Samantha Alexander was doing her best to keep the mind of a teenage boy off the severe cut across his leg.
“How old are you?” she asked him.
“What is your name?”
The 26-year-old Marine sergeant was driving home from her job at Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort one afternoon in April, her 2-year-old daughter in the back seat.
The route took her past Battery Creek High School not long after school let out for the day. In the road ahead of her, a car applied the brakes and swerved to the side of the road, hitting two teenage boys riding bicycles home from school.
Alexander pulled her car over and jumped out. A woman was screaming “I’m so sorry!”
A man was already helping one of the boys, so Alexander stooped to help the boy who appeared more seriously injured. She saw blood on his sweatpants and pulled them back to reveal exposed bone and tissue from a severe wound.
She removed her belt and secured it tightly around the boy’s leg above the cut.
Alexander is not a medic; she describes her job as working in a warehouse. Officially she’s a freight concommissioned officer in charge in the Distribution Management Office and has been in Beaufort for two years.
But she learned as a recruit in boot camp how to identify the type of bleed and to apply a tourniquet.
“We all get the basic knowledge of how to help if we could,” she said.
A bystander told Alexander he had an actual tourniquet in his truck, and she removed the belt and applied the new one. This might hurt, she remembers saying, but stay strong.
The 15-year-old boy complained that his wrist hurt but appeared not to feel what was happening to his leg. He asked Alexander to call his mom, and she stayed with the boy until police arrived.
After paramedics took him to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, he was flown to Savannah.
Doctors said he had an arterial bleed and had to take a vein from his other leg to repair the injury. They credited Alexander’s actions for saving his life, the Marines said in a news release.
Alexander visited the teen after he was released from the hospital. They posed for a picture, the boy sitting in a wheelchair and sporting a cast on each wrist and metal rods supporting his injured leg.
She said he’d had more therapy; she hoped he was OK.
Attempts to reach the boy’s family by phone this week were unsuccessful.
Alexander was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal at the air station on Nov. 13. She learned of the honor from her command only the day before and didn’t have a chance to coordinate the boy or his family attending
“I’m grateful for it,” Alexander said. “But it wasn’t why I did what I did.”
© 2019 The Island Packet
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