Airman shows true colors, saves youth’s life

Airman 1st Class Melissa Maraj
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Routine Air Force training made the difference between life and death, which was the case Feb. 27 as a Ramstein sergeant saved the life of a local teen.
As Staff Sgt. Lateasha Jenkins, 435th Medical Group, Personnel Reliability Program Office monitor, discovered that night — being in the right place at the right time can sometimes be enough to save a person’s life.
During a recent late-night movie at the Nightingale Theater on Ramstein, Sergeant Jenkins, who works part-time on the weekends there, discovered how quickly things can turn for the worse.
While looking out the window of the projectionist booth, Sergeant Jenkins noticed some activity below. She headed to the lower level to discover that a 15-year-old patron stopped breathing.
The youth collapsed after allegedly taking a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol and also having smoked marijuana.
Without hesitation Sergeant Jenkins put her training to practice. She immediately performed three rounds of CPR on the young girl, without any success.
“I was worried she would not recover, but when I did the fourth cycle, she began coughing and then breathing,” she said.
“When I saw that she was unconscious, I immediately did what I was trained to do,” said Sergeant Jenkins, who was required to take CPR certification course as a part of her qualifications for her present job.
Sergeant Jenkins’ act of heroism that night came as no surprise to the people who work with her.
“She is the type of person who jumps right in and puts 100 percent into everything she does,” said Tuesday Hankieson, KMC theaters manager. “I’m not surprised at all by what she did. I wouldn’t expect anything less from her.”
Sergeant Jenkins’ caring personality is a big part of the type of person that she is, explained Ms. Hankieson. “She’s just a beautiful person … one of those people that when you meet her, you know right away that she cares.”
Sergeant Jenkins, who joined the Air Force seven years ago, hopes to cross-train into another job in the medical field. She really enjoys her time in the military, and looks forward to more time in service, she said.
Her quick response and training made the difference between life and death that day.
“It’s when you get to do something that can change a person’s life, that you realize how important the act of one person can be,” said Sergeant Jenkins. “By making the right choices in life and taking your responsibilities seriously, you too may have an affect on someone’s life some day.”