U.S. Army Reserve Soldier receives award for saving woman’s life

By Lt. Col. Anna Aldana | U.S. Army Reserve Element European Command | May 29, 2019

DEVENS, MA —

Maj. Keith Parent, a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier in the 76th Operational Response Command, and a native of Fairfield, Connecticut, received the Joint Service Commendation Medal on May 19, 2019 during an awards ceremony at the Malony Army Reserve Center. 

Parent’s quick actions helped save a local German woman’s life by performing the Heimlich maneuver at a restaurant during off-duty hours. Parent was in Germany for annual training with the U.S. European Command

“I was in the right place at the right time, and I only did what I know every other Soldier in a similar situation would have done,” said Parent.

While dining at a local restaurant in Germany on March 27, 2019, Parent immediately recognized that a female civilian was choking. As the woman’s husband struggled to help her, she became incoherent and turned color. After two attempts at performing the proper Heimlich maneuver technique, Parent successfully dislodged the blockage which prevented the woman from losing consciousness.

The Heimlich maneuver is an emergency response technique that saves lives in seconds. A victim has only about four minutes before experiencing asphyxia, brain damage, or death.

“I am just glad that I could be of assistance to the woman and her family,” said Parent.

The Joint Service Commendation Medal (JSCM) is a decoration presented by the United States Armed Forces to individuals who, while serving as a senior on a joint military staff, have performed either an exceedingly heroic act, exceptional achievement, or commendable service that has not been recognized by a higher award.

U.S. ARE EUCOM provides timely support to the combatant command and enhances its ability to conduct military operations. The more than 140 members of the unit provide international and interagency partnering to enhance transatlantic security and defend the United States forward.