GRAFENWOEHR, Germany, March 20, 2018 —
Two U.S. airmen deployed to Eastern Europe recently helped a Polish woman who experienced a medical emergency while on a train in Poland.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel E. Webb and Senior Airman Angelo Flores, both staff weather officers assigned to the 7th Expeditionary Weather Squadron and working with the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, were on a train bound for Zielona Gora, Poland, March 3, when a young woman standing behind them collapsed.
“There was a teenager standing behind me, and at one point, I [noticed] she was not standing anymore,” explained Webb, who was on a two-day pass with Flores. “I [looked] and she was lying on the ground.”
Webb said training he received when he was an Air Force emergency medical technician gave him the skills needed to immediately render aid, but he modestly claims that “anybody would’ve helped in that situation.”
Although Webb could not speak Polish, he was able reposition the unresponsive woman into a lifesaving position and direct Flores to get a glass of water.
“I went to get water and started opening the windows to circulate air,” Flores said. “I got water and brought it to him as he worked on trying to get her conscious.”
A few minutes later, the woman regained consciousness and Webb gave her a sip of water.
“The train was hot and stuffy,” Webb said. “Flores started opening up a few of the windows, so I got her to cool off, got her to come around a little bit, and I got her to drink a little water.”
As the engineer stopped the train, Webb helped the woman to a bench and waited with her until an ambulance arrived.
Webb and Flores said they continued their trip to Zielona Gora, feeling like they did the right thing and thinking they would remain anonymous.
A week after the incident, an officer in their unit questioned the airmen regarding their involvement and notified them that another passenger on the train deduced they were U.S. military personnel.
The airmen’s surprise grew when they learned the stranger they had helped on the train was the daughter of a high-ranking retired Polish army officer and that he wanted to personally thank them for their swift action on the train.
“When the girl’s father came to thank us, he told us his daughter has a history of heart problems,” Flores said. “Although it could’ve been the heat, but it also may have been something more serious and we didn’t know that at the time.”
Webb said the opportunity to meet a high-ranking Polish military officer was a surprise but felt anyone else in the same situation would’ve helped too.
“My initial thought was, ‘Is this person OK and what can I do to make it better?’” Webb said.