The Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 514th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, 514th Air Mobility Wing, choose to serve their fellow Airmen by ensuring they remain medically qualified to complete their war-time and peace-time missions.
Few of those service members find themselves in a situation where their medical skills can be used in a critical medical situation outside of their military obligations. Yet, this is what two Airmen from the 514th AMDS did the night of June 5, 2020.
Master Sgt. Tracey Schwalbe, an aerospace medicine manager, and Senior Airman Kimberly Addy, an aerospace medicine technician, were running errands Friday when they came across the scene of a car accident involving two vehicles on Route 130 near Hamilton Township, N.J.
“There was a car completely smashed in the front and there was a guy walking around on the outside,” Schwalbe said. “At that time we heard no sirens, there were no police or anyone else there.”
Being the first on the scene, Schwalbe and Addy pulled over immediately to assess what had happened and provide whatever assistance they could.
“We got out to help, I got the man from one car situated out of the road and was assessing him,” Schwalbe said. “Airman Addy went over to help the other man in the other car maintain cervical spine stabilization until firemen or police got there.”
“He was T-boned so he was trapped in his car and he couldn’t move or get out,” Addy said. “He had likely hit his head on something so in those situations you are supposed to hold the head in place because moving it could cause more damage.”
Addy climbed into the backseat of the car in order to provide the cervical spine stabilization as that afforded the best position to do so given the damage the vehicle had sustained.
The man whom they had seen walking around had sustained injuries of his own.
“He had a tendon rupture and a possible concussion,” Schwalbe said. “He started to lose consciousness a little bit and was forgetful about what was going on.”
Other people eventually pulled over to help as well.
“We had to make sure that other people were monitoring the traffic that was coming through,” Schwalbe said. “As people came on scene we told them what we were doing so that they could handle everything else.”
“Firemen were the first to arrive, they actually had to use the Jaws of Life to cut through the car to free the person I was stabilizing,” Addy said. “I gave the firemen a report based off my assessment of how the injured man was doing.”
The combined efforts of Schwalbe, Addy and the other civilians who had stopped to help ensured that the victims of the accident were safely received by the medical personnel when they arrived on scene.
“It’s great to know that there are other people willing to stop and help people who need it,” Schwalbe said.
“Our jobs are about saving lives, it’s what we are trained for,” said Addy. “We see people in need, and stop to help.”