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Offutt airman helps save man in head-on collision

Tech. Sgt. Jesse Roen pitched in at the scene of a car crash involving a semi-truck and a pickup Feb. 4.

Tech. Sgt. Jesse Roen pitched in at the scene of a car crash involving a semi-truck and a pickup Feb. 4.

An Air Force firefighter at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is being heralded a hero after he aided a young man in a horrific vehicle crash and helped the first responders who arrived a few minutes later.

Tech. Sgt. Jesse Roen, a 343rd Recruiting Squadron enlisted accessions recruiter, was making the 100-mile drive from Duluth, Minn., to Hurley, Wis., in wintry weather Feb. 4 when a pickup passed him, according to an Air Force news release.

“I remember telling myself that this guy is going to be in a ditch due to the road conditions,” the news release quoted Roen as saying. “Unfortunately, my thought came true when I passed the hill and saw the scene of the accident.”

The pickup had crashed head-on into a semi-truck. Roen wondered if there was any way the pickup driver could have survived. As Roen dialed 911, he saw the driver reach a bloody hand to the dashboard.

While waiting for emergency responders to arrive, Roan, an Air Force firefighter by trade, provided first aid and placed a sleeping bag on the victim to help keep his body warm in below-zero temperatures. When firefighters arrived, Roan cued their radios so they could say in communication, the news release said.

Roen even called the driver’s parents, at the crash victim’s request, to let them know their son had been in an accident.

His efforts helped save the young man’s life, the Air Force said.

“Jesse’s quick and decisive decision making could not have represented the Air Force better,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Phillips, 343rd RCS commander. “Given his previous experience and training, he was certainly the right man in the right place.”

Roen said he hopes the story helps serve as a warning for drivers to slow down and exercise caution — especially in bad weather.

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