Sept. 21 started out as a typical day for Staff Sgt. Brandon Jacobs, but didn’t remain typical for long.
Jacobs, graphics design noncommissioned officer for the Kansas Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion, was westbound on Kansas Highway 10 from his home in Overland Park to his job at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Topeka at about 7:15 a.m. when he saw a great cloud of smoke on the opposite side of the highway.
“I thought ‘That’s a lot of smoke,’” said Jacobs, a 14-year Guard member.
As Jacobs got closer, he realized the smoke came from a car that was on fire and there was a young woman in the car. He pulled across the median and ran to the car. The woman, a student at Johnson County Community College, was in a state of shock and unable to get herself out of the car.
As he reached the car, his three years of combat lifesaver training kicked in.
“I remembered what I had learned about shock and made the determination that I would have to drag her out of the car,” he said. “I asked her name and told her what I was going to do and that we needed to go now. It wasn’t until much later that I thought about the danger to myself.”
Jacobs helped the woman unbuckle her seat belt and pulled her from the car.
“I sat her down a safe distance away and got her a bottle of water while trying to talk to her,” said Jacobs, who waited with her until fire crews arrived.
“Time was moving very quickly,” said Jacobs, “but very slowly at the same time.”
Eventually the paramedics arrived and took over the woman’s care.
“When I left the scene, the paramedics were checking her out,” said Jacobs. “I imagine she might have had a bit of smoke inhalation.”
Once the woman was safely in the hands of the paramedics, Jacobs went on his way to work with a story to tell about the small scrape on his left forearm.
“Everyone said ‘Oh, cool! Good job!’” said Jacobs. “We looked at the few pictures I took and went back to work.”