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Airman uses SABC training in real-world incident

Tech. Sgt. Adam Winters (File photo)

Tech. Sgt. Adam Winters (File photo)

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- "This type of training will be very beneficial ... as well as just being able to know what (you need to do) in a time of need," said Tech. Sgt. Adam Winters during last April's ancillary training rodeo. He had no idea he would be put in a situation where that specific training would come into play. Just a month ago, it did, as he came to the aid of a pedestrian who had collapsed, potentially saving the man's life.

On Jan. 8, Winters, who is assigned to the 109th Small Air Terminal, was driving home when he noticed a man suddenly collapse in the road in front of him. "Just thinking instinctively, the way I was driving and where he was positioned, I just angled my truck and turned on my hazards so no one would hit him," he said.

When Winters got to the man he noticed he fell face first into the concrete and had broken his nose. He was also in what appeared to be a seizure. "I just held onto him to make sure he wasn't going to keep shaking and his head wouldn't slam into the concrete," Winters said. "So I held his head - he was wearing a winter hat. I put that under his head to protect his head from slamming into the concrete."

A pedestrian passing by called 911 as Winters kept reassuring the man that help was on the way and he would be okay. "I knew he could hear me he just wasn't able to talk. I kept telling him to relax, that help was on the way and to keep breathing.

"After his shaking had subsided, I proceeded to place the man into a recovery position, to ensure he did not choke on his own blood, and to hopefully control some of the bleeding and placed his hat between his head and the concrete to protect him from further harm should another seizure occur," he said.

When medical help arrived, Winters informed them of the situation and what he had done prior to their arrival. They thanked Winters for what he had done and said he did very well.

Winters said the training he has received in self-aid buddy care over the last few years is singlehandedly what helped him with the situation.

"(That training) was what made me able to respond and not freak out," he said. "My instinctive ability from all the years of self-aid buddy care training gave me the knowledge to generally control the bleeding and place him in the proper position to prevent any further damage to him."

Chief Master Sgt. Mark Mann, 109th Air Transportation Operations superintendent, said Winters' action didn't surprise him at all.

"That's just the type of individual he is," he said. "He's an asset to the unit. It takes a special person to do what he did, and military people are the type of people who would do something like this. He stopped and he reacted and that was definitely service before self.  He provided that service to that individual with no worry about himself, and traffic going by and just not knowing the individual at all."

Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th Airlift Wing command chief, recognized his efforts Feb. 6 during a commander's call, presenting him the 109th AW command chief coin.

"I don't consider myself a hero for it," Winters said. "I was just able to be at the right place at the right time, and that's what mattered."