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Spc. Amanda Dillard's Heroism Earns The Soldier's Medal
by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Wayne Diaz - April 4, 2015

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Selfless service and personal courage are values instilled in Soldiers from day one. With a person's life in jeopardy, a 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command Soldier applied these values and made a decision that changed that person's fate.

Spc. Amanda Dillard, Information Technology Specialist, 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade, was presented the Soldier's Medal during a ceremony, here, March 6, 2015 at the Four Chaplain's Chapel.

Dillard, 26, a Newberg, Oregon, native, received the prestigious award for her actions on June 26, 2014.

Spc. Amanda Dilliard, 62nd Medical Brigade, 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, is awarded the Soldier’s Medal by Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, I Corps commanding general, during a ceremony March 6, 2015. Dilliard aided in the rescue of Andrew Klakken, who was involved in a car accident. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Wayne Diaz)
Spc. Amanda Dilliard, 62nd Medical Brigade, 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, is awarded the Soldier's Medal by Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, I Corps commanding general, during a ceremony March 6, 2015. Dilliard aided in the rescue of Andrew Klakken, who was involved in a car accident. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Wayne Diaz)

“I was driving home from work when I noticed a vehicle had gone off the road,” said Dillard “I pulled over and ran to the vehicle.”

“With the assistance of other bystanders, I crawled into the car with the victim and checked the extent of his injuries,” said Dillard.

Andrew Klakken, a registered nurse at the Madigan Army Medical Center, said he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his vehicle head on into a tree at 50 miles an hour.

“As I started to attempt to get out of the vehicle, I heard a voice,” said Klakken, who is originally from Spokane, Washington. “It was Amanda telling me not to move and that help was on the way.”

Klakken had suffered multiple injuries necessitating assistance.

“I was a little stunned at first, but then I realized she was right,” said Klakken “She kept reassuring me that help was on the way.”

Dillard provided cervical spine stability for more than 30 minutes until medical professionals arrived.

“Had she not been there to stabilize my neck I would be paralyzed and unable to breathe on my own,” said Klakken.

Coming to Klakken's aid was second nature for Dillard, who says she never hesitated.

“I didn't think twice, I saw somebody in need and my first reaction was to find a way to help him,” said Dillard “I was worried that the vehicle would explode or engulf in flames before I could get him help.”

“My training taught me to set aside nervousness and take charge of the situation and my emotions,” said Dillard “I was more confident in my knowledge of maintaining my composure, regardless of my fear, to keep the victim as calm and cared for as possible.”

Gary Barnes, Department of the Army policeman, was the first officer on the scene of the accident. Barnes quickly notified her chain of command after witnessing her actions and learning the extent of the victim's injuries, he said.

“The car was smoking and in danger of catching fire when I arrived on the scene,” said Barnes “I asked Amanda if she wanted to stay in there with victim and she insisted that she did.”

“I hear a lot of people questioning our Soldiers nowadays,” said Barnes “But if any of the Soldiers are a small reflection of what Amanda is, we're in pretty good hands.”

“It was a great honor to receive this award but I was just the person who crawled into the vehicle,” said Dillard “He was the one who fought to live, recover, and keep his light heart.”

“Heroes aren't based on a single action, heroes are based on their every day actions of helping others and going out of their way to be unselfish,” said Dillard “Heroic actions should be recognized and heroes should be honored, I hope I am seen as a hero beyond my actions of that day.”

Dillard is scheduled to become medically retired April 12, 2015. She plans to move to Texas and open an animal rescue shelter with her husband.

By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Wayne Diaz
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

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