LOUISVILLE, Ky. –
Staff Sgt. Katie Govoni was
at a food truck on 4th and Liberty with friends,
when at approximately 2 a.m., she heard two women screaming for help.
Govoni looked up to see one of the women running across the
street narrowly avoiding an oncoming car. She realized that the woman was Melissa
Snader whom she’d met briefly for the first time earlier at a popular hot spot
called “Fourth Street Live.”
Melissa clutched her chest in pain as she screamed for help.
She and her sister Sherrie were bleeding from stab
wounds to their chests after they fought off an attacker who tried to
rob them, Aug. 23, 2015. They were returning from Sherrie’s bachelorette party at
“Fourth Street Live” when they encountered the attacker.
Govoni, who as a Reserve
Soldier is a health care specialist instructor assigned to the 100th Training
Division, Fort Knox, Ky., directed two of her
friends, Staff Sgt. Josh Smith and Sgt. Micah Stoke, to help Sherrie. Smith and
Stoke, at the time, were assigned to the Army Recruiting School, Fort Knox.
Govoni was able to locate the wound on Melissa’s chest even
though the injured woman was panicking.
“I asked her if she
believed in miracles, and she nodded,” said Govoni, who in her civilian
capacity is an Emergency Medical Technician in
Boston, Mass. “I asked her to pray, because she had
found…a group of Soldiers, and one was a medic.”
Govoni got a Ziploc bag from the food truck and placed it on
the wound. Plastic on a chest wound works as a one way valve that creates a
seal, which causes the lungs to expand when the victim inhales.
Sherrie was on the
verge of passing out, so Govoni took over from Smith and Stoke. She handed Stoke
the Ziploc bag with a towel, and told him to apply direct pressure to Melissa’s
Sherrie was able to
talk, but she looked pale. Her pupils were dilated and her pulse was weak.
Govoni was worried she’d go into shock. She grabbed another towel from the food
truck and applied direct pressure to the wound.
“I kept telling
Sherrie to talk to me, and asked about her future husband, but her answers were
becoming less and less coherent,” Govoni said.
Sherrie’s breathing got
difficult, then she stopped talking. Govoni had a bystander apply pressure to
the wound as she worked on getting air into Sherrie’s lungs. After nearly a
minute Sherrie began to vomit.
By then Smith and
Stoke had stabilized Mellissa, so Smith helped Govoni fully open the airway and
clear the vomit. Sherrie Suddenly took a huge breath, sat up, and immediately
asked about her sister.
arrived and took over from the Soldiers before transporting them to a local
Dr. Jason Smith, a
trauma doctor who treated the sisters, said, the Soldiers’ actions are
consistent with the training first responders receive.
“They didn’t have
the resources…on the side of the road…to assess them [the victims] the way we
do in the hospital,” Smith said. “So, you assume the worst case scenario and do
exactly what the Soldiers did.”
Brig. Gen. Jason Walrath, commander 100th TD, awarded the Meritorious
Service Medal to Govoni for her efforts in helping the sisters.