MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. --
A video news report from the Air Guard’s TEC-TV studios here recently shared one Airman’s story about a quick decision to help a stranger at a roadside accident outside the Smoky Mountains.
Despite the event occurring more than a year ago, Staff Sgt. Thomas Swanson, a public affairs specialist, produced the video while training in March with TEC-TV’s Production Branch and after hearing from others about Tech. Sgt. Jesse E. Ball’s compelling story.
Sergeant Ball was outside Sevierville, Tenn., returning home from his work as an Air Force instructor when he watched a motorist drive off the road and into a creek. He said in the video that he anticipated the worst, so he pulled up and rushed to the edge to decide what to do.
“I’m not a great swimmer,” Sergeant Ball said. “I swim about as good as a rock.”
The female driver was trying to get to safety with a child, but she was in waist-deep current and below a muddy embankment. Sergeant Ball figured that the only option was to climb down and assist.
Rushing in, he got a hold of the child and was able to help carry both from the water and up to the other motorists and emergency responders who had arrived.
The ambulance took the woman and child to medical care.
Sergeant Ball believes his actions are no different than what anyone else would do, and he kept the story among coworkers, friends, and family; nonetheless, supervisors submitted him for an award and talked with Public Affairs to recognize his actions.
In his full-time service, Sergeant Ball teaches enlisted professional military education to active, Guard, and Reserve Airmen at the Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford EPME Center.
You can watch the video, linked at DVIDS: