Capts. Michelle Trujillo and Linda Clarkson, both with the 375th Medical Group, spent the Labor Day weekend camping at Lost Valley Lake Resort in Owensville, Missouri, when they noticed a child being brought out of the water and people gathered around.
"I grabbed Trujillo by the arm and said 'let's go!'" Clarkson said. The child was laying on the bank when they finally reached him, and without thinking they both yelled to call 9-1-1.
The boy was blue and unresponsive, and when they checked for a pulse they couldn't find one. Trujillo started compressions and Clarkson took control of his airway.
"Before we knew it, we were both down in position and starting CPR," Clarkson said. "I keep saying, 'this is what we train for, and this is what we do,' because it was overwhelming and nerve wrecking."
They explained that they were near a small swim area with a lot people in the lake. The boy, Issiah Wiest, was there for the weekend and his dad was at the scene.
"We continued doing compression until, finally, he started breathing on his own. After we got the boy to breathe on his own again, the ambulance arrived," Trujillo added
According to the sheriff's report, three teens "felt something under water" and immediately pulled Issiah out of the chest-deep water and onto shore.
"We've talked about it a couple times, and thinking back on it and we just did what we were supposed to do," she said. "We stayed calm and relied on our training to get us through the situation. We know we have been trained well, and we gave that family back their son. We have the satisfaction of knowing that little boy is alive and back at school."
Since the incident, they've kept in touch with family who said they are "extremely grateful" and have sent pictures of Issiah coloring and smiling as if "nothing really happened."
All the attention from local media and base officials have been a way for them to encourage others to learn and know CPR.
"We're hoping that individuals take the opportunity to learn CPR. People on that beach felt helpless because they were not prepared," Clarkson said.
If an Airman is in a situation that they are trained to handle, they should definitely step up whether it be medical or nonmedical, said Truijllo.
Lost Valley Lake and Issiah's parents plan to host a celebration for all those who had a hand in saving his life. The resort also wants to incorporate CPR training into the event for their staff members and their guests in hopes to become more prepared.