FOX21 and the American Red Cross are partnering once again to honor some Hometown Heroes – people who exemplify courage, kindness, and unselfish character. Today, we highlight one of the Military Heroes — Senior Airmen Aliah Leon.
EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — A fun trip with friends exploring Pikes Peak turned out to be a trip Senior Airmen Aliah Leon will never forget. Last June, she helped rescue a man who dove off a cliff at Pikes Peak.
“On our way down, cars were starting to slow down, cars were stopping and I got out of my car to see what was happening and witnessed a man who was obviously distraught,” explained Aliah Leon, Senior Airmen, USAF Electronic Security Systems, 21st Security Forces Squadron. “He was on one side of the road, he ran across and dove headfirst off the side of the cliff.”
Senior Airmen Leon said the 52-year-old was attempting suicide. He had fallen 50 feet and landed facedown. With nearly three years of military training and first aid, she jumped in to help.
“Whether I was at risk or not I went down to help because I knew that I would be helpful in the situation,” Senior Airmen Leon said.
She immediately evaluated the man’s injuries, asking if the man could feel and wiggle his toes to find out if he had a spinal injury. She also gathered medical supplies and blankets from onlookers above.
Her friend and Airmen First Class Deontz Whatley helped out too by diverting traffic around the incident.
“Unfortunately, the man decided to jump where it was very jagged large boulders,” Senior Airmen Leon explained. “When I got down there I noticed that he had completely degloved his face, he hit a rock on the bottom corner of his face and peeled it all the way off.”
She kept him calm, bandaged his face up and gave vital information to dispatch. The incident took place at mile marker 17 but they had to carry him down where an ambulance could take him to mile marker 13 where a helicopter met them to fly him to a nearby trauma unit.
“We had to put him onto a gurney and carry him up the side of the mountain,” Leon added.
While she said the man was in and out of consciousness she reassured him that he was going to be ok and that help was on the way. She said her military training kicked in. A military hero going above and beyond for others, risking her life to save another.
“Being able to save someone’s life, it changes you,” Senior Airmen Leon said.
She along with many other Hometown Heroes are being honored Thursday afternoon.