LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- "I am an American Airman...," He started, pointing to the last paragraph of the Airman's Creed. "...I will never falter and I will not fail. The last part of the Airman's Creed is why I do not consider myself a hero."
On Jan. 29, while on leave, Tech. Sgt. Shane Buss, 47th Flying Training Wing Equal Opportunity acting director was called upon to help rescue two civilians after their truck lost control and crashed near Pinto Creek on the west side of Bracketville, Texas.
"I did what I think most people in my shoes would've done-- helped," said Buss. "I had just picked my kids up from school and was heading home when I saw the truck beside the creek. I immediately pulled over, told my kids to stay put and got to the scene of the wreckage."
Buss, who had previously been a first responder before joining the Air Force, assessed the situation quickly and began to take action.
"The truck was smashed up pretty good, especially on the passenger side," Buss said. "I had to leg press the driver side door open far enough for us to pull the driver out so we could focus on the passenger. The driver was definitely doing better than the passenger, but still really bad."
In a matter of minutes after arriving, Buss had helped he driver out of the truck who was then put in a safe and comfortable position so he would not hurt himself further. Then Buss jumped through the back window of the truck to help the passenger.
"The passenger was on the side with the most damage and had a few broken bones along with other injuries," said Buss. "He was also pinned so the Fire Department would have to use the Jaws of Life (a hydraulic rescue tool used by emergency rescue personnel when extricating crash victims) to get him out. I held his head like a C-Spine to make sure he wouldn't hurt himself and talked to him to calm him down and take his mind off of the accident."
Buss started by testing the passenger's short term memory by asking him if he knew where they were.
"After a few failed questions relating to short term memory, I focused on his long term," said Buss. "I got his name and where he was from, which was good."
The paramedics arrived and continue to assess the passenger's condition. Shortly after the Fire Department arrived and was ready to use the Jaws of Life.
"For the Fire Department to use the Jaws of Life, the windows needed to be busted out," said Buss. "One of the firemen gave me a blanket to put over the passenger to keep from glass shards hitting him. I put it over him and turned my face away from the window to protect myself from the glass. I wasn't worried about myself, because it was all about the passenger at this point."
Soon after the passenger was free and into the hands of the paramedics, Buss helped Bill Conoly, Rio Grande Electric Cooperative, Inc. loss control coordinator, with some of the details and gather photos of the accident.
"Buss was definitely a huge help that day," said Conoly. "He helped me in every way he possibly could after the injured were taken care of. We appreciate his help. Due partly to him, the driver and passenger of the truck are doing ok."
The appreciation for Buss' help doesn't end with the Rio Grande Electric company.
"Buss' actions are indicative of his training, competency, and most importantly, his character," said Col. Joshua Lechowick, 47th FTW director of staff. "We are extremely proud of what he's done and are thankful that he was there when someone was in need."
As Buss is recognized for his good deed, he knows the event was more than an opportunity to save lives.
"For me it's not about being recognized a hero," said Buss. "It's about being a great Airman, a good leader and a role model for my children."