Vets As First Responders Helping Save Accident Victim

By  | 

Dave Perez and Shane Whitecloud were sitting in an office at the Northern Nevada Veterans Resource Center on West Plumb Lane Tuesday when they heard a loud crash.

"I turned around and opened the blinds to the window behind my back and saw the Jeep tumbling down," says Whitecloud.

He ran out the door while Perez dialed 9-1-1, who then grabbed a fire extinguisher and followed.

The Jeep was lying on its roof. The driver had apparently run a red light, hitting another SUV, then a parked car, before rolling over.

Another center staffer was first on the scene.

"When I got there I looked inside the vehicle which was on its roof," says Whitecloud. "I didn't see any other victims, just the woman. Her arm was outside the window. There was a lot of blood, so I took my belt off and asked Nick to use it as a tourniquet."

Firemen and paramedics would arrive shortly, but in those first few critical minutes Perez, Whitecloud, three other staff members of the Veterans Center, a volunteer and a client took charge.

Perez, a 21 year veteran of the Marine Corps and combat, took charge as a former master sergeant would.

"First thing you have to do is establish security around the site to make sure it's safe for everybody to render aid," says Perez. "Assess the situation. Assess the patient.

Military training kicked in and, as if planned, they quickly formed a team, each member with a different task.

"My supervisor Jennifer, she stabilized the woman's head," says Whitecloud. "Nick stabilized the victim's chest. I held her legs and we just tried to keep her prone while waiting for the EMT's to show up.

Perez says it was then just a matter of keeping the woman safe.

"She was talking with us so we knew she had an open airway. We were concerned at this point once we stopped the bleeding was keeping her from causing further damage to herself. We had a fire extinguisher, so we were prepared for that."

Some would call them heroes. A REMSA spokesman told us today their quick action possibly saved the woman's life. But hero is not a title any of them would claim.

Both men work every day to help get homeless vets off the street. Helping this accident victim, they say, was what they do every day..

"No sir. I don't think we're heroes," says Whitecloud. "I just think we did the right thing."

"We just saw someone who needed help and we were glad we were there to provide that help to her," adds Perez.