LAKEWOOD, Wash. (10/4/20110) -- A hero's welcome greeted a
soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., as he accepted several
awards at Lakewood City Hall. The soldier, with a shy smile,
graciously accepted the accolades for saving a woman's life.
Pfc. Jose Noel Delgado, a health care specialist with C Company, 702nd Brigade Support Battalion, stands with the Lakewood City Council, his chain of command, the Chief of Police, the Fire Chief and Mary Healey after receiving several awards at Lakewood City Hall, Sept. 26,
2011. Delgado was honored for his actions in saving Healey's life after a driver crashed into a gas station and nearly severed Healey's leg. Photo by Army Sgt. Austan Owen
The audience gave a standing ovation to Pfc. Jose Noel
Delgado, a health care specialist with C Company, 702nd
Brigade Support Battalion, Sept. 26, as he received the
Police Chief's Citizen Commendation from the Lakewood Chief
of Police, Bret Farrar, and the Public Safety Citizens Award
from the Fire Chief, Ken Sharp, for his heroic actions, July
Delgado was on his way to pick up a pizza with
his girlfriend, after getting off-duty, when he noticed an
accident at a gas station in Lakewood, Wash. A truck had
driven over a median and crashed into a gas station knocking
over one of the pumps and struck a woman filling her vehicle
with gas. The accident almost completely severed the woman's
foot and threatened to take her life as she was lying in a
pool of gasoline.
chain of events that happened next would make all the
difference in the world to Mary Healey as she lay on the
ground bleeding to death. Delgado, from Lancaster, Pa.,
stopped and rendered aid to the injured woman.
took charge of the accident scene right there, doing what he
needed to do to save my foot and my life,” Healey said,
“He's my hero; that's all I can say; He's my hero.”
Ignoring the possibility of the flowing gas bursting into
flames Delgado sprang into action saving a stranger's life.
“There was gas all over her and the ground, so I picked
her up and ran with her toward the store part of the gas
station,” Delgado said.
“I'm going to help anytime I
see something like that; I'm going to stop and see if I can
lend a hand,” Delgado said, “I'm never going to run away
from a situation like that.”
Delgado, a combat medic,
said his training immediately kicked in. He applied pressure
to her femoral artery until he could secure a belt, which he
used as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. He directed other
onlookers to acquire various supplies like duct tape and a
shirt to use in the immediate life saving efforts of Healey
while he worked on her.
“My training allowed me to
feel calm and remain calm in the situation,” Delgado said.
“When I saw she was hurt I thought; I know what I am
doing here, I know my job, I know how this works and I know
how to help her,” Delgado said.
“He did whatever he
could to make sure she didn't die on him,” said Jacqueline
Balderrama, Delgado's girlfriend and witness at the scene,
“He did a really, really good job.”
“When I was
working on her I was just thinking of my grandma,” Delgado
said, “Imagine it's your grandma, you do whatever you have
to do to help her.”
First responders arrived at the
scene a little while later and took Healey to Harborview
Medical Center; doctors were able to successfully reattach
As Healey was being transported to the
hospital, Delgado had one more good deed to accomplish that
Farrar said, Delgado identified the driver of
the truck who had caused the wreck and fled the scene after
the accident. The police apprehended the driver a short
Delgado said he didn't feel like a
hero as he accepted the praise and commendation heaped upon
him, but to many in the community of Lakewood, and
especially to Healey and her family, he is exactly that.
“Had it not been for Pfc. Jose Delgado I wouldn't be
sitting here,” Healey said.
By Army Sgt. Austan Owen
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