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Fairchild Airman saves two children

Fairchild Airman saves two children

Master Sgt. Joshua O’Brien, 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron section chief, poses for a photo at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, April 4, 2018. O’Brien was out walking with his family around Medical Lake when he noticed two young girls fall through the ice. O’Brien immediately jumped into action, diving into the frigid water and pulling the children to safety. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jesenia Landaverde)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Master Sgt. Joshua O’Brien was walking with his family around Medical Lake enjoying a unseasonably-warm Washington winter day. As they made their way toward the waterfront, O’Brien noticed two young girls walking out onto the frozen lake when the girls suddenly fell through the ice into the water below.

O’Brien immediately jumped into action, diving into the frigid water to pull the children to safety. As he helped the children get their way to shore, O’Brien struggled to climb out of the water.

“I started punching down the ice with my fist, trying to find my way out when Dave Dormaier, a Medical Lake Middle School teacher, helped pull me up,” said O’Brien, 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron section chief. “I couldn’t have done it alone; it was truly a community effort.”

Bystanders helped by providing blankets to O’Brien and the children, keeping them warm until the Medical Lake Fire Department could arrive to provide additional care.

“It was a heroic thing he did rescuing those kids,” said Corey Stevens, Medical Lake assistant fire chief. “If he didn’t, they could’ve been seriously hurt or ended up with hypothermia.”

O’Brien’s actions were courageous, but it was his military training and many years of service that enabled him to act quickly and decisively.

“I’m glad I have been a certified Air Force Self-Aid Buddy Care instructor for four years and a Basic Life Saver trainer for eight years,” O’Brien said. “We cover medical emergencies such as hypothermia and how to treat them until medical professionals arrive.”

The training United States Air Force Airmen consistently practice not only helps them keep America and its allies safe, but empowers them to help their neighbors in the community.