In a quiet ceremony held Feb. 9 at the Idaho Capitol, Staff Sgt. David Jensen of the Idaho Air National Guard received the Idaho Cross.
Personnel from the Idaho National Guard, along with friends and family of Jensen gathered as he received Idaho’s highest state award presented to members of the Idaho Military Division.
Jensen was recognized for his heroic efforts on Aug. 26, 2015, as he and a fellow Airman arrived at the scene of a one-vehicle rollover near milepost 27 on State Highway 51. Upon arrival, Jensen determined that the single accident victim was still inside the vehicle and unconscious.
"We were just slowly passing by, just kind of checking it out and saw there was still someone in the vehicle so we pulled over," Jensen said.
Although other witnesses were on the scene before him, little care had been given to the victim.
"One of the guys that was already there had wrapped a tear of blanket around the victim's head but he was still bleeding pretty heavily," Jensen said.
With labored breathing and bleeding profusely from his head through the makeshift dressing and with a deep cut to his left arm, Jensen determined blood loss was the most significant threat to the victim’s survival.
Utilizing a government-issued first aid kit and assistance from others, Jensen's military training kicked in and he began to treat the victim's injuries, significantly reducing blood loss. He proceeded to treat the other wounds and stabilize the victim until emergency crews from Owyhee Ambulance Service and the Shoshone-Paiute Fire Department arrived on scene.
“Sergeant Jensen’s selfless and decisive actions reflect great credit upon himself, the Idaho Air National Guard and the state of Idaho,” reads the citation, signed by both Governor “Butch” Otter and Maj. Gen. Gary Sayler, Commanding General of the Idaho National Guard.
“It’s a true honor and privilege to recognize Sgt. Jensen for his heroic actions," said Sayler. "David saved a life and for that we couldn’t be more thankful and proud.”
In addition to providing life-saving care for the victim, Jensen passed on critical information to paramedics once they arrived regarding the injuries and the treatment he administered, resulting in effective and uninterrupted care for the victim.