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Airman recognized for saving an Ohioan's life

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Joe Harwood
  • 179AW Public Affairs Photojournalist
Ohio Air National Guardsman, Staff Sgt. Josh Blankley, with the 200th RED HORSE Squadron, is a shining example of the minuteman spirit. In a split second, he was thrust into a life-saving situation where his ability to quickly react and Air National Guard training came to fruition.

On June 22, 2012, Blankley was traveling on Interstate 75 and witnessed a vehicle lose control, travel into the median and roll over several times before it came to rest on its side with severe damage. Blankley immediately stopped to render assistance. Observing the driver was trapped inside, he entered the overturned vehicle to assess the driver's injuries. After a quick assessment of the drivers multiple injuries and severe bleeding from his head, Blankley immediately rendered lifesaving measures and remained with the victim until first responders arrived.

Ohio Air National Guard State Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Tamara R. Phillips; Chief of Staff for the Ohio Air National Guard, Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Markovich; 200th RED HORSE Commander, Col. Todd M. Audet; and Chief Master Sgt. Michael D. Crosser gathered to recognize Blankley's selfless act of heroism, by awarding him the Ohio Distinguished Service Medal with the "V" device for valor at Camp Perry located in Port Clinton, Ohio on March 9, 2013.

"It's really a great moment, we're tremendously proud, across the Guard, when one of our own gets a chance to take the skills that they've learned and exercise their training," said Markovich.

The man that he saved, Ronald Alberding, of Huntsville, Ohio, expressed his gratitude by attending the award ceremony with his family. Alberding explained how Blankley comforted and protected him from the moment he arrived, until first responders were able to remove him from the twisted wreckage that entrapped him.

Alberding said "He told me he was over in Afghanistan and that your injuries are not anything [to worry about], I've seen worse; so that made me feel great. I was glad that he was there."

Blankley said he felt comfortable using his life-saving military training and didn't think twice about jumping in to help a fellow citizen in need.

"There was a man in a car accident that was pretty bad and I was able to get into the car and help him out until the medics showed up and saved his life," said Blankley.

His selfless actions reflect the distinguishing character instilled in every Ohio Air National Guard member. From the day they take the oath of enlistment, Airmen are taught the Air Force Core Values: Integrity first, Service before self and Excellence in all we do. These are not just words, but a value system that Airmen are expected to live by every day. That afternoon, passing traffic witnessed an Airman living his core values and doing everything possible to help a fellow citizen in need at a dangerous crash scene.

"I just know that what you have done has increased the public's trust in Ohio guardsman." Phillips said, "We are the defenders, not only while deployed overseas, but we are the defenders of our communities as well."

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