122nd Air Support Operations Squadron Hero
By Capt Beverly G. Couto , 159th Fighter Wing, LAANG
/ Published April 30, 2009
February 3rd, 2009 -- ALEXANDRIA, La. - Heroes are made every day. The morning of February 3rd was no exception. Master Sergeant Paul Schulz didn't set out that morning with the intention of becoming one but that's usually how it happens.
Shortly before 6 am while driving to work on Hwy 165S Sergeant Shultz noticed a school bus that looked to be off the normal path of travel. When he turned from Hwy 165S onto Esler Field Rd it was apparent that a school bus and short front delivery truck had crashed into one another. The fronts of the two vehicles were in a small ditch, side by side and in the trees.
"I stopped, along with another vehicle, and immediately dialed 911" said Sergeant Schulz. "We heard screaming coming from both vehicles but were unable to get to the front of either of them." The flashing light on top the bus was going off so they decided to open the back door of the bus to check on the passengers thinking there might have children with injuries on board. Luckily there was only the bus driver, an elderly female who was screaming to "save that man", referring to the person in the other vehicle. Schulz and the other passer-by tried to calm her down; made sure no other passengers were on the bus and began to assess her medical needs. Once they established she had no visible life threatening medical problems they exited the bus to check on the man in the wrecked truck who was still screaming.
The gentleman that pulled up with Sergeant Schulz offered his flash light to get to the front of the truck to check on the passenger of the second vehicle while he stayed with the lady on the bus. Schulz made his way through the wreckage, trees and ditch to get to the passenger side of the wrecked vehicle. The driver was the only person in the vehicle. Schulz began to ask the questions about any other passengers and any immediate needs. Because of the damage to the front of the delivery truck the driver was pinned between the steering wheel and seat and bleeding from the mouth. Unable to actually get close enough to access his medical needs Sergeant Schulz assured the injured man that 911 was called and that help was on the way.
"When pulling up to the scene I had noticed some smoke coming from between the two vehicles." Because it was still dark Sergeant Shultz took the flash light and began to check for other potential hazards. None were found so he went to revisit the wreck victims. Police, firemen and ambulances began to arrive and Sergeant Schulz briefed them on the situation. He then remained with the lady on the bus. "I was able to stabilize her leg and monitor her head injury that became a concern because of the size of the knot and location on her head."
The firemen took control of the man in the delivery truck and Sergeant Shultz assisted the emergency medical team with the injured lady, loading her on a mobile stretcher and getting her out of the ditch and into the ambulance.
Sergeant Schulz remained to watch the fire department extract the man from the front of the vehicle, cutting away over 80% of the cab of the truck before getting him out. "At that time I believed I could do no more to assist." It was only then that Master Sergeant Paul Schulz headed off to a full day of work.