Evansville Sailor Awarded for Heroic Act in Memphis
Every day, I receive hundreds of emails. Many are press releases telling me about new music or fundraisers but when this one came across my inbox, I immediately opened it.
Naval Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffery Atherton, of Evansville, witnessed and responded to a horrific car accident Aug. 26, ultimately leading to saving a woman’s life. His actions resulted in receiving a medal this month for extremely heroic conduct.
The release went on to say that:
On his commute home after work that Friday, Atherton witnessed a vehicle ahead of him on Interstate 40 flip over several times after a sharp curve in the highway. He immediately pulled over and began assessing the situation. Upon finding the injured woman, he began using his Navy training to help her as much as he could.
“When I saw that there was someone that needed help I didn't hesitate,” said Atherton. “The training I have received in the Navy has taught me a lot, but above all, I have learned to stay calm in high-stress situations.”
The Memphis woman had lost her arm in the accident and was unconscious when Atherton found her. As he was preparing to give her CPR, the woman regained consciousness and Atherton began calming her down and started to get basic information from her for the paramedics.
“I'm grateful that I was able to be there for her and thankful to the first responders who got her the immediate medical attention she desperately needed,” said Atherton. “I look forward to seeing her again when she fully recovers.”
Shortly after Atherton responded to the scene, an off-duty paramedic arrived and took over the care of the driver. At that point, Atherton turned his attention toward the vehicle. Despite smoke coming from the vehicle, he approached and checked to see if there were any additional passengers who needed help. He then began directing traffic around the vehicle until the emergency responders arrived on the scene.
With his outstanding courage, endurance, and leadership at the scene, Atherton was able to contribute to saving the Memphis woman’s life. For this brave act, he was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
“I am extremely proud to call Petty Officer Atherton my shipmate,” said Capt. David Bryson, commanding officer of Naval Support Activity Mid-South. “While he always performs above expectations on-duty, his actions off duty in this incident truly illustrate his character. I am grateful that he was there to respond and provide the help needed to one of our local community members when they truly needed him.”
With so much terrible news that happens in the world each day, I'm so grateful to hear that there are truly good people who are willing to not only dedicate their lives to the preservation of freedom for this country but help those in need whenever they see it.