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Maryland Air Guard Airman uses military training to save a life

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Julian Kemper
  • 175th Wing

MARTIN STATE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, MD -- The day before Thanksgiving, most people are thinking about a short list of things to do - ensuring the turkey is thawed, cleaning the house for a family visit, or preparing for a long trip to see relatives. For Maryland Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Brooke Parks, a recruiter assigned to the 175th Force Support Squadron, her focus was on saving a life. 

While driving down Pulaski Highway in Baltimore, Parks noticed a man in the median of the road, seemingly passed out. Without even thinking, she pulled her car over to check the situation.

“It blew my mind that nobody was stopping,” Parks said. 

After calling 911, she was joined by another concerned driver. She noticed what seemed to be drug paraphernalia surrounding the man, and concluded he was having an overdose. Luckily, Parks was more than prepared for the situation, as she carries Narcan and a first aid kit in her car.

“I administered the first dose, no response, no color coming back, no breathing, nothing,” said Parks. 

While the other motorist began to panic, Parks remained calm and focused. After administering a second dose, she began thinking about next steps, when her training proved its usefulness.

“I was starting to think I would have to do CPR,” said Parks. “And then I thought back to [Tactical Combat Casualty Care] training and said ‘let me try the sternum rub they talked about.’ Once I did it, he actually jumped up.”

Once EMS and the fire department arrived, Parks filled them in on the situation and let them take over. As the daughter of a nurse, this was far from her first time in a life-or-death roadside situation. 

“My mom always stopped at car accidents,” Parks recalled. “One time she actually saved someone’s life at a car accident. They were having a femoral bleed and she stopped the bleeding until EMS arrived.”

Parks credits both her mother and her role as a service member in providing her with a sense of duty to help others whenever she can. 

“Brooke is an amazing Airman who serves with professionalism and pride in everything she does. As a recruiter she takes special care of all the people she encounters on a daily basis,” said Maryland Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Singleton, 175th Recruiting and Retention senior enlisted leader. “It is no surprise to me that when she was called to do so she stepped up to help a fellow Marylander in need. I couldn’t be more proud of her actions and the person she is.”

Wing leadership also echoed those sentiments.

“The actions taken by SSgt. Parks that day are a testament to the person she is and is the ultimate example of being a citizen-Airmen,” said Maryland Air National Guard Col. Richard Hunt, 175th Wing commander. “Not only was she willing to step up, intervene, and take action to help save a life when she was needed by our community but she was prepared.  She is the perfect example of being always ready, always there and I could not be more proud of her.”