Hometown Heroes: 3 airmen go beyond the call of duty to save a woman’s life

Hometown Heroes

FOX21 and The American Red Cross are partnering once again to honor some “Hometown Heroes”. They are people who exemplify courage, kindness, and unselfish character.

This year’s Military Hero award goes to three airmen, stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, who saved one young woman’s life.

It’s not unusual for them to be called to a crash, but generally, it’s within the perimeters of Peterson Air Force Base.

Staff Sergeant Branden Smithwick said, “Normally we patrol the base, make sure the people that are on Peterson are safe, secure, we check IDs, we pull people over like a typical cop.”

But on November 20, 2018, three airmen got a call beyond their jurisdiction.

“We were standing outside the East Gate after we just closed it when an individual drove up. That’s when I walked over to their car,” said Airman First Class Matthew Huff.

Smithwick said, “We were notified of a vehicle rollover against the perimeter fence.”

“We jumped in the vehicle, we headed down there,” said Huff. 

Airman First Class Anthony Bustamante said, “When we arrived on scene all we saw was a pair of sneakers pinned up actually against the fence line.” 

“We noticed that the vehicle was on top of the individual,” said Smithwick. 

Bustamante said, “First instinct was to just hop the fence and get over and assist her as soon as we could.”

“Her Seattle was still on her so we cut her seat belt off,” said Huff. 

Bustamante said, “At that time, I got the back of the vehicle. Airman Huff got the front of the vehicle then on the count of three we tried to lift it as best we could.”

The three airmen were able to get the woman out from underneath her car. Then provided medical attention until an ambulance arrived. 

Had it not been for them taking their training beyond the base, that young woman may not have made it, but she did. 

Master Sergeant Andrew Charter, who nominated the airmen for the award said, “Climbing a fence and rolling a car over and saving her life is not something that you would think you would do every day.”

All three say they were just doing their jobs.

“Just making sure that we can save a life if given the opportunity,” said Smithwick. 

Bustamante said, “The biggest reward I could say is when we did go to the hospital and see that she was ok.”

They’ve dedicated their lives to protecting their country while becoming Hometown Heroes too. 

“When we went to the hospital, the whole time I was there I was just kind of holding back tears because her mom was very thankful,” said Huff. 

Bustamante said, “Her mother embraced us with a big hug and tears started falling and she said, ‘thank you for saving my daughter’s life.”

This is just the first of many Hometown Heroes stories FOX21 will be telling over the next few weeks.

All Hometown Heroes will receive their awards at a dinner held at The Broadmoor Hotel on March 14. 

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