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Reserve Airman saves two lives in Kansas City

  • Published
  • By Maj. Shelley Ecklebe
  • 442d Fighter Wing

“I didn’t really think anything of it” said Master Sgt Christopher Winslow “I would expect that anyone else would have done the same thing for me.” At the time, Winslow, the Combat Arms Training and Maintenance noncommissioned officer-in-charge, 442d Security Forces Squadron here, was running errands with a friend when they heard a man yelling for help in the parking lot of Lowe’s in Kansas City, Mo. in mid-April 2023.

Initially thinking the man was trying to sell him something, Winslow kept walking but after a few seconds decided to look behind him and that’s when he saw a group of people congregating around a car and man yelling for help. Winslow and his friend ran to the car and saw an unresponsive male in the driver’s seat. Realizing the passenger was in cardiac arrest, he started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while his friend called 911. Winslow, a prior emergency medical services technician, performed CPR for over nine minutes before paramedics arrived on-scene.

“It’s strange to be on the other side of an emergency” said Winslow, “I didn’t know if the man was going to make it because 9 minutes of CPR is a very long time.”

A couple of months went by when he was stopped by a Lowe’s employee inside the store. “The employee came up to me and asked if I was the guy who performed CPR in the parking lot? I told her that I was and she told me the family came back in a few days later and said if I ever saw you to tell you that he made it and to say thank you.”

Just four months later, in September 2023, Winslow was driving near Smithville Lake, Missouri when he came upon a turned over sport utility vehicle on the side of the road with a family of 10 standing outside the vehicle.  With no emergency service vehicles around, Winslow ran to the accident and asked the family if everyone was safe or needed any help.

Confronted with a language barrier, he took matters into his own hands and looked in the overturned vehicle, where he found one unconscious passenger hanging upside down. Relying on his combat training and EMS skills, Winslow opened the door, completed an initial assessment of the passenger, safely cut away the seatbelt, and moved the passenger to a safe location away from the vehicle.

Realizing the passenger was not breathing, Winslow began performing CPR and after approximately 2.5 minutes, the passenger regained consciousness but stopped breathing again shortly after. Winslow resumed CPR for another 45 seconds until she remained stable. He then walked up the road in search for the nearest mailbox, called emergency services and stayed with the family until the paramedics arrived.

“Airmen like Winslow are what makes this wing so special,” said Col. Mike Leonas, Commander of the 442d Fighter Wing. “His selfless act of courage, his leadership among bystanders, and his quick thinking undoubtedly saved the lives of two people this year. I’m humbled to serve with men like him.”