by Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf
65th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
3/18/2015 - LAJES FIELD, Azores, Portugal -- There
is always the potential of one moment turning an ordinary day upside
down. It is in that moment where there is a separation between
bystanders and individuals that Step Up, Step In. For one Lajes' couple,
when moment arrived -- they were ready.
At the end of an ordinary workday, Tech. Sgt. Jamie Gielczowski, 65th
Force Support Squadron manpower analyst, and his wife Laura Gielczowski,
Protestant education coordinator at the base chapel, were heading home.
All of a sudden a green hatchback in front of them stalled out and
started rolling backwards.
Two screaming women immediately exited the hatchback holding a baby. The
only word the Gielczowskis could understand was, hospital, and they
knew something was wrong. Laura jumped out of the truck, ran towards the
women and was handed a motionless little girl. Laura told the mother to
get in the truck and they drove to the emergency room.
"I was so focused on making sure that (the mother) and the baby were
ok," Laura said, "Let's just get them there, that was all I was focused
As they drove off Tech. Sgt. Gielczowski used hand gestures and told the
mother to lay the baby flat to open up the airway. Despite the language
barrier, the mother understood.
When emergencies arise it's easy to let a situation become overwhelming. It benefits everyone to remain calm and focused.
"I think the reason I stayed so calm was because Jamie was giving such good instructions," Laura said.
At one point Tech. Sgt. Gielczowski looked in the rear view mirror and
saw the baby convulsing. He slowed down preparing to give the baby CPR,
but before he could stop the little girl became conscious again.
The couple relied on directions to the hospital via hand signals from
the mother. When they arrived, Tech. Sgt. Gielczowski repeatedly honked
the horn as Laura and the woman ran inside with the baby.
Throughout the ordeal, Tech. Sgt. Gielczowski relied on Self-Aid and Buddy Care and CPR training.
Air Force training requirements, such as SABC, focus on what to do in
emergency medical situations. Airmen will never know when an ordinary
day will be turned upside down and the training they have received could
save a life.
The Gielczowskis said they were just doing what anyone would do in the same situation.
"I think there would be a lot of people out there that would have done
the same thing," Laura said. "Their focus would have been to just get
that baby to the hospital."
"It just shows how the Americans and the Portuguese rely on one other to
take care of each other and I think that continued partnership is
important to be maintained," Tech. Sgt. Gielczowski said. "It's about
us; us as a Portuguese and American family."