ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - When a car plowed into the side of a Gaithersburg Sam's Club on the afternoon of July 23, three shoppers were injured. One of them was severely hurt.
The store's food-court quickly became a triage area, but two medical students – about to exit the store – stepped in to help.
Tuesday morning, Ensign John Hunt and Second Lieutenant Wells Weymouth were honored as “everyday heroes.”
Hunt and Weymouth just happened to take a combat medical skills course at the military's Uniformed Services University In Bethesda.
Was it fate? Weymouth doesn’t think so. “I just think it was the right place at the right time and we just got lucky,” he said.
After the car barreled through the store’s front service doors into the food court, Hunt and Weymouth immediately rushed to the area. They assessed the causalities, zeroing in on 76-year old victim Dimas Chavez.
Chavez suffered serious injuries that later required a partial leg amputation after he was airlifted to shock trauma.
Hunt said, “We knew that, in our training, the first thing to take care of is massive hemorrhage. So we stopped it with our hands, at first. And then we applied some make-shift tourniquets with our belts and we asked the people around us if they had belts.”
Montgomery County Fire Chief Steven Lohr said, “[Applying tourniquets] allowed the paramedics to more quickly package the patient, administer IV therapy and get him on to the emergency room.”
Three months later, the cause of the crash at Sam’s Club is still under investigation and the Good Samaritans said they have yet to meet with the victim they helped rescue that day.
“We've been in contact with his daughter,” Hunt said. “She's assured us that he's doing better and better. And he would like to meet us eventually.”
But on Tuesday, the young military officers were honored by Montgomery County officials with Everyday Heroes awards.
Executive Isiah Leggett told them, “On behalf of our one million residents, thank you for what you've done.”
After this experience, the men said they're even more committed to careers in medicine.