If any veteran still believes that their military skills have no use in the civilian world, let this be proof to the contrary.
Last Friday night, Sgt. Emily Anderson was celebrating her grandfather’s 80th birthday with her family at the Crown Sterling restaurant in Lynchburg, Virginia.
During their dinner, Anderson — a 28-year-old Army medic with the Virginia National Guard based in Charlottesville, Virginia — told Military Times she realized that a man at a table behind her was having trouble breathing. The man quickly passed out, and Anderson knew her military training was needed.
She said that she and a few others helped the man to the floor and felt for his pulse, which they couldn’t find. Anderson began CPR, and it took two rounds for the man to regain consciousness. She said she kept him talking to make sure he stayed awake until the ambulance arrived.
Her quick thinking has earned her a bit of attention over the last week, including from Lynchburg’s ABC13 News and her university. The restaurant’s owner, Missy Bragg, called Anderson “a true hero” in the ABC report.
Anderson said it’s a bit embarrassing, in a good way, and really just saw it as an example of her doing her job.
Anderson, who happens to be eight months pregnant, is no stranger to stressful situations. She has been deployed twice, once to Iraq for six months in 2011 and then again to Qatar in 2016-17.
Currently, she is a junior at the University of Lynchburg studying exercise physiology. She was clearly prepared for an incident like this, but it still took her by surprise, she said.
“It’s never something that I expected to do out at dinner,” she told Army Times. “I definitely wasn’t planning for it … Luckily due to the training, it just kind of takes over in that situation.”
“I know that I have those skills and I’ve received that training,” she said. “Of course if someone’s in need, it’s obvious to me that you’d step in and help.”
Anderson said she hopes this event serves as evidence for her fellow veterans that their skills may be called upon at any time when they return home from their service.
“I think as a reservist, it’s a lot of times difficult for leaders to explain to our lower-enlisted soldiers that these kills we are taught can be used in real-life scenarios,” she said. “Sometimes they don’t really get to put that into perspective. For all my soldiers, I’m using this as a training point to show them that the training they receive is valid and that it really could happen to anyone at any time.”