104th Fighter Wing officer remains calm, helps injured local
By Staff Sgt. Sara Kolinski, 104th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 23, 2021
WILBRAHAM, Mass. – On Tuesday, June 13, 2021, Officer Robert Keeler, 104th Security Forces Squadron Installation Security Officer, was out shopping with his wife in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, when they spotted a man who needed help.
“I knew something wasn’t right,” said Keeler. “I didn’t know exactly what it could have been. He had a lot of blood on his face but it was dried. Then when I saw the wound on his leg, I knew it was pretty serious.”
Keeler said that he rolled down his window, and spoke to the man as he called 911.
“He had a gash probably about eight inches on the inside of his leg and knee and I could tell he had lost a lot of blood,” said Keeler.
When the Wilbraham police officer arrived on scene, Keeler, who has been an officer at the 104th Fighter Wing for 15 years, continued to help.
“I got out, identified myself as law enforcement and said that I could help him so he gave me gloves and gauze and I just started opening them up and helped him stuff the wounds until the ambulance got there,” said Keeler. “He was there by himself and I had the training to help because I have first responder training and we have done basic combat lifesaving courses at Barnes.”
Officers and defenders at the 104 SFS go through a multitude of trainings including use of force, fire arms, blood borne pathogen, active shooter training, and other standard law enforcement trainings. Keeler stated that the training he has received working at Barnes has helped prepare him to respond in situations like this.
“People who haven’t had this kind of training maybe would have panicked and drove away, maybe not called 911 and the outcome could have been different for him,” said Keeler. “I didn’t panic.”
Keeler said that after the wounded individual was loaded into the ambulance, the police officer who arrived on scene approached him and said that it was a good thing he was out shopping or the individual might not have made it.
“I guess when you do this job it’s just kind of expected and you’re kind of always on duty 24/7 so I was just at the right place at the right time. I don’t feel like I did anything special. I helped when I needed to and that’s it.”