Airman of the Burgh: Senior Airman Katherine Jarvis

  • Published
  • By Airman Bethany Feenstra
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
One year ago, a young medical technician with the 911th Aeromedical Staging Squadron found herself involved in a 30-car vehicle accident and an opportunity to put her job skill training to use.

On Feb. 14, 2015, Senior Airman Katherine Jarvis and a team of medical technicians were on the way back to the hospital, while working as a civilian, when they were involved in a multi-vehicle accident caused by icy conditions.  Jarvis was quick to step up and use her medical training to assist other motorists.

"The first car that we got to, which was really the only bad injury of all the vehicles, had a pregnant female passenger," said Jarvis. "At the time she didn't know, but she had a broken neck and a broken femur and some cuts. Her car was pretty smashed up and, because I'm about five foot nothing I could maneuver my way into the car."

Jarvis said she held the woman's c-spine, the section of spine in the neck, in place for about two hours until EMS could arrive to remove them from the car.

"Jarvis actually sustained a head injury from the accident and was still able to get out of her vehicle to render care to somebody who was much worse off in another vehicle," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Kennedy, Jarvis' direct supervisor.

Kennedy and Landis agree that, although her medical knowledge came from her military training, Jarvis' actions were not out of character for her.

"She strives to help people and do the right thing," said Staff Sgt. Morgan Landis, a coworker of Jarvis. "That's a desire she has and that's a desire you have to have to be in those types of career fields. Fire, EMS, law enforcement, that's a quality you have to have to be an effective person in the public safety world."

Jarvis, a civilian phlebotomist, medical technician trained to draw blood, has wanted a career in public safety since she was a child and wanted to be a police officer. Since then she has shown interest in other public safety careers such as emergency medical services, firefighting and law enforcement.

She is planning to go back to college to begin a career as a police officer. But as for her military career, Jarvis said she likes being a medical technician and wouldn't want to do anything else.

"We have a lot of great Airmen, don't get me wrong, but a lot of them don't show as much self-initiative as she does to make this place better, make the Air Force better," said Landis.

Landis attributes this quality, as well as self-awareness and willingness to ask questions, to Jarvis being selected to become a trainer in Education and Training. In this position she will be teaching refresher courses, especially the emergency medical technician aspect.

Jarvis' advice to Airmen who find themselves in a crisis situation is, if they have the training and know what to do, just step up and do it.

"Don't hesitate, because it could escalate if you don't," said Jarvis. "Her neck was already broken so it definitely could have gotten worse. I mean, you're not going to regret it. You're going to regret not doing anything."