82nd SFS Airman receives Air Force Commendation Medal for life-saving actions

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

Typical Monday nights consist of relaxing, some Netflix and maybe saving the life of your 74 year old neighbor who collapsed into your apartment – what do you mean that’s not normal?

On November 12, 2018, a 74 year old woman knocked on the door of her neighbor when she was suffering from pneumonia, luckily for her, one Senior Airman Janine Casey, 82nd Security Forces Squadron unit scheduler, answered.

“I just recently came back from the store and about 15 minutes later I heard a knock on my door,” Casey said. “My neighbor was leaning on the door frame and was talking a little funny.”

At this point Casey said she was confused by her elderly neighbor, but quickly helped her in any way she could, which included helping her retrieve her inhaler, which didn’t help. The situation deteriorated from friendly neighborly gestures to a full on emergency. Casey felt her neighbor’s body tense up as she guided her to the ground. Casey called 911 and prepared for the worse.

“At first I thought it might have been a seizure, but then she started turning blue,” Casey said. “There was no pulse so I started performing CPR, I did compressions and breaths about three or four times, that’s when she started moving again.”

Casey said the whole time she felt calm, she had been trained multiple times on this. She knew what to do and did not hesitate. Her supervisor summed up the situation best.

“It’s fight or flight,” said Staff Sgt. Hayden Guffey, 82nd Security Forces Squadron unit trainer, “You’re either going to make a decision to act or freeze. She made a decision. It’s all instinct and training.”

And with the powers of instinct and training combined Casey kept by the side of her neighbor and arguably more calm than at least three Buddhist monks, as she is not one to let fear get the best of her.

“Being calm and making a decision is what we teach,” Casey said. “In some situations fear will make people freeze, you have to be mentally prepared for that, this could’ve happened anywhere.”

As she was the scheduler for all the units training, she would see to it that her fellow defenders are always prepared, but just like everything it was training added to your core character.

“I’m proud of her, but I am not surprised,” Guffey said. “It is just who she is. She’s smart and she knows what she’s doing. It also has to do with that defender mindset, we’re here to help people.”

Just as he said Casey had that mindset, whether subconsciously or like a switch, her body had it too.

Guffey said the defender mindset was knowing to be aware at ALL times, and when there is an issue, you’re the one that will be running to it even if everyone is running away. It’s all mental.

At the end of the day the ambulance came and Casey’s neighbor came to. Casey received an Air Force Commendation Medal as well as flowers and other gifts from her new favorite neighbor, but Casey stays humble.

Casey said she does not see this as something to be praised over and does not like telling others about what happened. She said she was just doing what she signed up to do. It was just another day in her Air Force career.