Soldiers rescue family after accident

Story by Ignacio “Iggy” Rubalcava
U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder Public Affairs

An early morning drive to Baumholder recently quickly turned into a nightmare for Heather Majorwitz and her two children, Kaitie and Bret. They were on their way to school when the car hit a patch of ice and started to skid across the road toward an oncoming bus. Majorwitz swerved to avoid the bus and slid off the road, rolling the car.

“One minute we were on the road and the next we were hanging from our seatbelts,” she said.

The car’s wheels were still turning when four Soldiers from the 421st Multifunctional Medical Battalion came upon the scene. Without hesitation and not knowing who was in the car, CW2 Vladimir Sequera and three other Soldiers stopped their Humvee and dashed out to help. The children were already making their way out of the shattered back window when the Soldiers approached the vehicle. Sequera and the other Soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Winston Smith, Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Lehman and Sgt. Cheryl Henneberry quickly brought the children to safety and wrapped them with their jackets so they could stay warm. By then, Majorwitz was making her way out of the car, so Sequera and the other Soldiers turned their attention to helping her.

“When we saw the vehicle, we immediately pulled our vehicle to the side. We all had the same thought: There’s somebody in the vehicle,” Sequera said. “We didn’t know if they were American or German. We just wanted to help so it only took us an instant to stop.”

Majorwitz said she only remembers the car rolling and lots of glass.

“I felt blessed to walk away from the wreck, but I also felt really blessed that we had Soldiers there that would go above and beyond and help us,” she said. “You guys are my heroes.”

Sequera said he was glad they were there to help her.

“I don’t think it’s a hero thing,” he said. “I think it’s a human behavior that we help each other out. It’s part of what we do in the military.”

Madeleine Dwoiakowski, public affairs officer for U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder, drives the same route on her way to work. When she approached the site, she saw numerous first responders already assisting.

“I saw Soldiers and hoped that none of our guys were injured, not knowing that the Soldiers were actually assisting on the scene,” she said. “I then saw the car and it looked like it had gone through a press. They were extremely fortunate to walk away from there with no injuries, and they were also equally fortunate that the Soldiers were there almost immediately to help.”

For Majorwitz, it was the scariest moment she’s experienced as a mother, she said.

“I wasn’t sure if the children were OK. Everybody said they were OK, but even at the hospital I wasn’t sure,” Majorwitz said. “My little boy gets anxious about things and I was worried that he’d have this anxiety and wouldn’t want to ride in a car

Majorwitz said they had a flat tire once before and for the next year her son checked the tires before getting in the car.

“But he was fine. He was a trooper,” Majorwitz said.

Turning to Sequera, Majorwitz added, “I think he was fine because you guys were there immediately. There wasn’t that second to even worry about it because we were taken care of right away.”

Later that day, Majorwitz, who is the librarian at Smith Elementary School, called her 15-year-old daughter in the states.

“This is why I do what I do to serve these guys, because they’re there and they step in no matter what,” she told her daughter. “It’s automatic because that’s who they are. This makes me even more proud to be able to teach the kids of our Soldiers, because I know that they’re out there taking care of everybody else.”

Fighting back tears, Majorwitz turned to the Soldiers who rescued her and her children and said, “I think that’s why you all are in the Army and you’re Soldiers. We could have died but we didn’t. We were very fortunate all around so I just want to thank you.”

Majorwitz then embraced Sequera and repeated her appreciation for their help.

“You guys are my heroes.”