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Soldiers helped after accident

POSTED: July 14, 2008 5:00 a.m.
I've been covering local, regional and national news in this area for about eight years now and I am often asked by friends how I cope with reporting on stories that sometimes end tragically - vehicle accidents, domestic violence cases, even murders. My response is pretty standard by now: I focus on the story and don't dwell on the circumstances.
Last week, I was surprised to learn the details surrounding the story of a motorcycle accident in which a group of soldiers was credited with saving the victims life.
Hinesville traffic accident investigator Lt. Max McLendon said SSG Franklin Wade, a military police officer assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, witnessed the accident in which Roger Hughes of Ludowici was allegedly struck by a pick-up in front of Burger King on E.G. Miles Parkway. Wade actually stopped to aid Hughes.
I say I was surprised because, in all my years of reporting, I have never had the opportunity to report such a story. I'm not saying others in this community haven't acted as good Samaritans; I'm sure there are dozens of heroes walking among us who have performed a selfless act to aid a fellow man or woman.
What struck me as unique upon hearing this story is that Wade, an Iraqi war veteran, stopped his car on the parkway to preserve the scene then ran to assess Hughes' injuries. SSG Wade told me he stabilized the injured man and kept him calm as five reservists visiting from Florida assisted. SSG Wade said the wound Hughes sustained to his left leg was bleeding profusely and the blood began to pool under the wound. Using techniques learned as a first responder and an Army-certified Combat Lifesaver, Wade took Hughes' belt off and wrapped it tightly above the wound to control the flow of blood.
I have not had the honor of meeting Wade yet, but during a telephone interview I asked Wade, who was on his way home from a long day at work on Fort Stewart, why he did what he did. He told me that it was something he had to do; he knew a man was down and needed his help until medical personnel arrived. Wade said he recalled the story of an elderly man who was struck by a car. Motorists and pedestrians walked by as the man lay in the street, suffering from his wounds. "I couldn't drive on knowing someone needed my help," Wade said.
Wade, according to McLendon, may have saved Hughes' life. Emergency Medical Technician Bob Heffley, who arrived minutes after the accident to take over from Wade and the five reservists, substantiated the claim. Heffley said the group's quick action might have possibly saved Hughes' life and limb.
In an age where basketball players, musicians and anyone in the public eye is labeled a hero just for being famous, it was refreshing to hear the story of Wade and the reservists who stepped up to the plate - not on a ball field - but the field of everyday reality, where people sometimes needs to depend on the kindness of others just to survive another day. What these men did, in my humble opinion, rates right up there with the soldier who falls on a grenade to save his buddies. In this case, a man who was on an evening ride was truly touched by an angel -six of them to be exact.

 

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