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Off duty Airman and wife save life

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Cammie Quinn
  • 43rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
For one Airman, a routine visit to the store went from commonplace to life changing when a call for help resonated through the store and a young woman lay unconscious.

Airman 1st Class Var Gehron, a member of the 43rd Communications Squadron, and his wife Rachel planned to spend the day buying groceries before returning home as part of their weekly routine. On the evening of Oct. 23, however, the couple was able to the save a life and change the lives of one family forever.

"My wife and I went to Walmart" Airman Gehron said. "We were waiting in line to check out when my wife heard a noise, she turned around and saw people with a dazed look on their faces."

They ran toward the noise and found Mandy, 23, lying unconscious on the ground -- she had fallen and cracked her skull. Mandy was unresponsive to her mother's attempts to wake her. Airman Gehron didn't have to wait to know how to react. "When I heard someone say 'Help!' not much of anything went through my mind -- instinct to help just kicked in," said Airman Gehron. He added, "If anything, I was pretty numb to what was going on."

Working as a team, Rachel assured Mandy's mother that she and her husband were certified in CPR and initiated the procedures.

"We crouched beside the woman, Rachel checked her pulse. She told me the young woman had no pulse and just stopped breathing," the Airman said. "I tilted her head back and started compressions."Before beginning his second set of compressions, Airman Gehron ensured that an emergency response team had been notified and that Mandy's head was tilted in the correct position.

His hard worked paid off, and by the second round of compressions Mandy became responsive to the actions. "I finished the compressions. The woman began breathing and the paramedics arrived and took over."

Airman Gehron, who received CPR certification in August, credited his training for the way the events of the evening unfolded. "This was the first time having to use CPR in real life," Airman Gehron said.

Unfortunately the story wasn't over. Two days after the incident, Airman Gehron received a call in which he learned that, as a result of her injuries, Mandy had to undergo brain surgery. The outlook was hazy as to whether she would ever function normally again.
"I knew that she would have to go to the hospital, but I didn't know she would have brain surgery due to her falling and fracturing her skull," he said.

He soon received the good news that Mandy would be released from the hospital and functioning in as little as two weeks.

"It was a great feeling of accomplishment when I found out she was sent home from the hospital," he said.

Gehron's wife continued to get updates on Mandy's condition from her mother.
These actions are par for the course for the young Airman, according to his supervisor, Tech. Sgt. David Manso, 43rd CS. "Airman Gehron's got a great head on his shoulders - he doesn't need to be told what to do. He's just a natural."

Airman Gehron responded to the emergency with the expertise and composure of a professional. His actions one Friday night helped to save a young woman's life.