JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --
Recently, a quick-thinking Airman saved a person’s life at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
As Master Sgt. Andre C. Denson, medical equipment management section chief, left the food court from grabbing lunch, a man brushed up against Denson’s left shoulder and indicated he was choking.
Denson immediately stepped in and performed the Heimlich maneuver ultimately saving the man’s life.
“Once I started giving him the Heimlich, I probably gave him about four or five thrusts and then there was [an Airman] who said, ‘Your hands are too low,’” explained Denson. “So, I readjusted my hands higher, closer to his sternum, and the lodged item came out.”
After the man was stabilized and medical personnel arrived, Denson picked up his lunch and went back to his office.
“I’m happy he will have this opportunity to live and his family can enjoy him still being around for them,” Denson said. “I think the most important part is it wasn’t his time. Whether it was me or somebody else helping him, it just wasn’t his time to go.”
He told no one about his actions, but surveillance footage captured the lifesaving act.
“What you see is what you get,” said Dave Collings, clinical engineering flight chief. “He’s the model Airman. He works hard. He has great respect and he receives great respect from everyone in the office.”
Denson maintains and tests medical equipment used at facilities throughout the 59th MDW’s area of responsibility, ensuring medical personnel have properly functioning equipment to complete the mission.
He credits the basic lifesaving skills he has received through the Air Force for his ability to step in when needed.
“Those [scenarios] do come into play,” he said. “As easy as calling 911, you can save somebody’s life yourself. I don’t take that training for granted at all. If you come on a situation, do anything you can to save that person’s life. The worst thing you can do is to do nothing.”