“This is a prime example of why every second of training that you have counts.”
Cadet Adam Gild ’24 is a mechanical engineering major from Nashville, Tennessee. After graduating, he hopes to commission in the Marine Corps.
Excited to see family and loved ones over Christmas furlough and take a break from classes, Gild never expected to find himself in the middle of a life-or-death first aid situation on the side of a highway.
As Gild and his girlfriend were driving along a major highway in Nashville, Tennesee, they noticed a tire rolling down the middle of the road. At first, they thought it was amusing, but then they realized that someone might need help.
“We started looking for any sort of accident,” Gild said. “We saw a couple of cars that had pulled over, and one of them was this gray truck that was facing the wrong way. All the airbags had deployed, and there was someone [inside who was] unconscious.”
“I looked at my girlfriend and said, ‘Oh my God, that guy needs help,’” Gild continued.
Gild pulled over to the side of the road with the intent of checking on the man inside the truck.
“As I was getting out, his foot was still on the accelerator, so he went back out across four lanes of traffic and crashed into the other side,” Gild said.
Determined to offer aid, Gild searched for a way to cross the highway to get to the truck.
“I was running up the interstate, and I was looking for a gap between a couple of cars so I could dart across and get to him,” Gild stated.
Gild shot the gap between two cars, arrived at the truck, and took in the scene. The car was on fire and heavily damaged, and the man inside was not conscious or breathing.
“I was trying to talk to him: ‘Sir, you’ve been in this crash, you need to stay still, and I need you to breathe,’” Gild said.
Gild offered first aid to help open his airway. Thankfully, the man began breathing and Gild then focused on keeping the man as still as possible.
“Because of the training I got here [at VMI], I knew not to move him,” Gild said. “I talked to him at this point. I was just trying to keep him calm and keep him breathing.”
Additional bystanders arrived at the scene, and together the group kept talking to the victim and tried to keep him safe until first responders arrived and took over.
“The paramedic told me that I saved his life, [and] I got pretty emotional,” Gild said.
The man recovered, and Gild later talked with him.
Gild credits his VMI training for developing the mental fortitude to respond in such a dire situation, especially New Cadet Military Training, a course taught to 4th Class cadets.
In NCMT, “there’s a decent chunk of time they dedicate to emergency medical situations just like this, and [those hours of training] were just so instrumental in making the difference.”
Looking back on the situation, Gild remains humble and thankful.
“Everyone is telling me ‘You did so much for this guy,’” Gild said, “but I really just stuck to what they told me [in training] and tried to help where I could, and it all turned out all right.”
Eric Moore VMI Communications & Marketing