JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.- —
After a long day at work we look forward to coming home to unwind into the familiar routines; picking up kids from daycare or school, coming home to take off our boots and sitting down to have a meal with our families around the table.
The last thing anyone would expect is to suddenly need to save a life while in the middle of dinner.
But on Oct. 24, for U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Charity Vest, 87th Aerospace Medicine Squadron operational medicine technician, her afternoon went from relaxing at home to a hectic life or death circumstance.
“I just got home from work, and I heard a knocking on the door,” said Vest. “My neighbor was standing there and said that her child needed medical attention, so I ran out with her across the street.”
Vest was the first medical personnel on the scene and what she saw was something that would change her life.
When she reached the front yard 14 month-old baby Arlo was laying in the grass and unresponsive.
She immediately went into auto pilot using her quick thinking and years of training and began to perform CPR after checking the infants pulse and determining that the infant wasn’t breathing.
“This was the first time that I have ever given CPR to anyone,” said Vest. “I’m just so thankful for my training that I’ve had, and I’m just so glad that I was home.”
Vest and another neighbor together continued rescue breathing on the infant until first responders arrived at the scene and took over.
“It was just another call but our urgency was more and we were more concerned with his state,” said Staff Sgt. Pablo Duran, 87th Medical Operations Squadron ambulance services aerospace medical technician. “But once we stabilized the patient and once he started crying we weren’t as concerned about his airway anymore since he was breathing.”
When first responders arrived they were able to start him on a bag mask, said Vest. He was then taken to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to get further medical attention.
“It all sank in afterwards. But when he was on the ambulance and breathing I was just so relieved to hear him cry,” said Vest. “It was the best noise I think I’ve ever heard.”
Thanks to SSgt. Vest. Arlo is now home safe with his family.