‘Durable’ Soldier saves community member’s life
Cpl. Rachel Ten Eyck, 1st Support Maintenance Co., 541st CSSB, left, demonstrates her skill with a pistol at Old Abilene Town. Ten Eyck was pursuing her hobby as a re-enactor when she saved the life of a spectator Sept. 1. Photo by: Sgt. V. Michelle Woods, 1ST SUST. BDE.
Story by: Sgt. V. Michelle Woods
1ST SUST. BDE. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Soldiers have to be ready to make rapid decisions that could mean the difference between life or death at all times, but usually when they are called upon to do so they are in combat.
That wasn't the case for Cpl. Rachel Ten Eyck, test measurement and diagnostic equipment maintenance support specialist, 1st Support Maintenance Company, 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade. She was off-duty dressed up in an Old Western costume Sept. 1 when she was called upon to rescue an unresponsive woman.
The woman was visiting Old Abilene Town, a recreation area depicting the way Abilene, Kan., looked at its peak as a cattle drive town in the 19th century. At Old Abilene Town, Ten Eyck played the character of Dr. Jezebel Cordelaine for the Old Abilene Gunfighters, a recurring staged gun fight reminiscent of an old Western movie.
"My first response to an emergency of any sort is to take control of the situation," said Ten Eyck.
Ten Eyck said another character yelled urgently for her and she ran as fast as possible to find the woman lying on the boardwalk. The woman, whose full name is unknown, was a spectator of the reenactment.
"When I got to her, she had no pulse, and she wasn't breathing; she was blue in color and was absolutely unresponsive," she said.
Despite the chaos surrounding the mother of six, Ten Eyck said she was entirely focused on what she needed to do for the casualty.
"I gave her one breath; I gave her nine compressions," she said. "Her body heaved and she came back. She started breathing and started to talk. By the time the emergency medical technicians got there, she was telling me her name, where she was and the date."
Ten Eyck said she was trained in first aid response in high school and recertifies annually through the Army's Combat Lifesaver Course.
"When she started breathing again I was astounded – absolutely astounded," Ten Eyck said. "It was definitely more excitement than I had anticipated for this weekend."
"The entire company is very proud of how Cpl. Ten Eyck reacted not only because she was able to assist someone in need but because she represented all of us that day," said Capt. David A. Lukefahr, rear commander, 1st Support Maintenance Company, 541st CSSB.
After the ambulance took the woman away, Ten Eyck said she went with the Family to the hospital in case the doctors needed to ask her questions but also to comfort the woman's 2-year-old great-granddaughter who was very upset.
Ten Eyck said the woman seemed coherent when she talked to her at the hospital.
"She told me that she told God that she wasn't ready to go," Ten Eyck said. "She seemed like she had her wits about her."
Every Soldier receives training to be a leader and to take charge of chaotic situations. For Ten Eyck, the pressure of having another person's life in her hands won't deter her from taking charge should an event like this arise in the future, she said.
"I definitely wouldn't hesitate to step in if I had to again," she said.