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Recruiter helps save accident victim's life on Florida highway

  • Published
  • By Chet R. DelSignore
  • Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs
Senior Airman Michael Huesca was on his way to help an applicant get a new career in the Air Force.  In seconds, his mission changed to saving a life.

Airman Huesca, an Air Force enlisted accessions recruiter, witnessed a horrific multi-car accident outside of Orlando, Fla. recently.  As he drove on the busy, six-lane John Young Parkway to interview the applicant, Airman Huesca noticed a silver car suddenly cross the median and head into oncoming traffic.

The accident unfolded right before Airman Huesca's eyes as the car slammed head-on into a pickup truck just ahead of him. The impact was so violent that a wheel from the small car flew off and struck his government vehicle.

He immediately pulled over, called 911 and ran to render aid to the person in the small car -- but the man in the driver's seat displayed no signs of life.

Then Airman Huesca heard someone call him over to the truck. It was an off-duty paramedic who also stopped to help.

The male and female passengers of the truck had been removed to a grassy area on the side of the road where Airman Huesca proceeded to care for the male driver of the pickup. 

"I knelt down next to him and carefully held his head at a slight elevation to keep his airway open and placed my other hand on his chest to monitor his breathing," Airman Huesca said. "I talked to him to help keep him from going into shock, but he kept drifting in and out of consciousness so I would shout at him to keep him awake and tell him to hang in there."

Airman Huesca's primary thought was to keep the victim alive and awake, which he did until paramedics arrived to transport the injured to an area hospital.

The driver of the silver car was flown by air-ambulance helicopter to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival, the Airman learned from the local evening news.

Without Airman Huesca's help, the driver of the pickup truck might have suffered the same fate as the automobile driver who caused the unfortunate chain of events. 

"This experience has heightened my awareness of my surroundings all the time, for sure," said Airman Huesca. "You learn how to pay better attention to everything and also to live every day to the fullest. You never know when something could change your life in a second."

The implication of one second's difference hit Airman Huesca's wife as he recounted the events later that evening.  She began to cry, realizing that if the small car had crossed the median one second later, it would have run head-on into her husband.

Though the accident occurred in June, Airman Huesca's squadron commander, Lt. Col. Michael Tillema, recently decided to nominate him for the award of the Airman's Medal after reviewing accounts of his lifesaving performance on that day.  

"Airman Huesca is a superstar," Colonel Tillema said, "and it comes as no surprise that this warrior unhesitatingly came to the aid of his fellow man. His performance and professionalism since his arrival in our unit has been absolutely outstanding."

Airman Huesca, previously assigned as a security forces specialist at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, now serves with the 333rd Recruiting Squadron, Orlando, Fla.
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