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Instincts, energy drinks save a life

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Makensie Cooper

Running on instinct and energy drinks, a gut feeling turned an uneventful, mid-shift shoppette run into a life-saving situation.

Tech. Sgt. John Logan Westlund, 17th Operational Weather Squadron weather craftsman, was awarded the Diamond Sharp Award for exemplifying first sergeant traits and for taking care of his fellow wingman.

While working a mid-shift, Westlund drove to the shoppette at 3 a.m. and noticed something wasn’t quite right--an Airman was sitting outside the bus stop alone. Westlund went back to ask if the Airman was alright.

“The Airman first said they were fine, then I asked again and they said, you know what I'm not ok, I'm not good, and then they just collapsed on the ground,” said Westlund. “I got out of the truck and walked around and they were on the ground crying, and that’s when I called back here and talked to Tech. Sgt. Hargis.”

Westlund and Tech. Sgt. Zachary Hargis, 17th OWS senior duty officer, joined efforts to help the Airman.

“Once Westlund began discussing the situation with the Airman and didn’t feel comfortable leaving, he called me and we discussed our next move to ensure that the Airman was left in a safer situation,” said Hargis.

Hargis called the Airman’s first sergeant, what he would have done if it was one of his airmen that needed help.

“It is easy to consider the emergency room or mental health, but the shirt is more familiar with their people and they’re always available to help,” said Hargis.

Both Westlund and Hargis used their training as a foundation to help out the Airman in need.

“I would say truly get to know the people in your squadron and then try to notice them and when things are different,” said Westlund. “This time it just happened to be someone I’ve never met.”

Master Sgt. James Pauley, 17th OWS first sergeant, nominated Westlund for the Diamond Sharp Award.

“For him to pursue the training, it really makes me proud,” said Pauley. “It validates our training and it really demonstrates our ability to be wingmen.”

Westlund gives the credit to all his training, and being situationally aware.

“It’s all about noticing your surroundings,” said Westlund. “It's really easy to go on autopilot to get in a routine and not really notice things around you, and the most important thing is just being there, I am just really happy I went to get an energy drink at that time.”

For confidential support for military members and their families, call the free military crisis line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.