Two Defense Logistics Agency Energy Americas employees were recognized for their courageous actions as first responders to a vehicle accident on Houston’s Interstate 45 during morning rush hour Feb. 25.
DLA Energy Americas Commander Army Col. Ron Ross presented on-the-spot awards to Adam Giles and Gary Simon, inventory/traffic management specialists, for their efforts in providing emergency assistance to a crashed vehicle.
“The personal courage and sacrifice displayed by Adam Giles and Gary Simon showcased their outstanding leadership and strong sense of service to their fellow man,” Ross said.
Giles and Simon were carpooling together on their way into work at about 5:30 a.m. when they witnessed a small pickup truck cut 90 degrees into the next lane and was struck by a SUV. The pickup truck lost control and flipped three times and crashed, blocking two lanes of traffic.
Both Giles and Simon are Air Force veterans and trained in Air Force self-aid buddy care, a disaster preparedness course.
“We immediately pulled ahead of the accident and moved to the accident to assess the situation,” Giles said. “An 18 wheeler behind the accident blocked the scene from traffic and the driver guided traffic away from the damaged vehicles.”
As the two DLA Energy Americas employees approached the pickup on its side, they observed the driver of the pickup truck was alive and slightly responsive. While Giles went to check on the driver of the second vehicle, Simon continued to talk to the driver of the pickup truck, asking questions to keep him alert and conscious. The driver of the SUV was uninjured and on her cellphone. Giles directed her to stand on the side of the road, out of traffic and harm’s way.
“My years of Air Force experience and Gary’s time in the Air Force made it instinctive for us to be involved,” Giles said.
Together, Simon and Giles began peeling back the truck’s windshield with a hammer and their hands in order to remove the windshield until Simon had enough room to squeeze into the cab to assess for injuries. Giles then removed the back window for a different view to look for injuries.
“After checking out the passenger and finding no external injuries, we decided to leave him in place until professional help arrived,” Giles said. “Moving him ourselves could have caused further injury. There was a fuel leak that was moving downhill and away from the engine and posed no danger.”
“I am glad we did not have to do more than what we did,” Simon said. “It could have been a lot worse. We expected casualties and not an injury. We did not suspect anyone could have survived in the pickup truck.”
Within 10 minutes, emergency responders arrived, and the men provided their account to the police.
“It was a blessing that the individual was alive and that we were able to be there for him,” Simon said. “For such a horrific incident, we were fortunate to be able to help any way we could.”
Ross said Giles and Simon are sterling examples of the entire DLA Energy Americas team.
“They instinctively knew what needed to be done and had the courage and conviction to do the right thing,” he said.