WEST HAVEN, Conn. , Dec. 5, 2006 — When Sgt. Kristi J. Artigue joined the Connecticut Army National Guard the summer before her senior year of high school, it was a chance to broaden her experiences.
“I’ve always been a risk taker,” said Artigue, 23, now a medic with the 141st Medical Company.
On Nov. 10, Artigue called upon the skills learned during her six years of National Guard service -- including a recent deployment to Iraq -- to help save the life of a man who may have drowned
I was passing by (Supersonic Car Wash, West Haven) after work when I saw my boyfriend’s car,” said Artigue. “I called him to say ‘Hi’, and he told me someone had had a seizure and fallen into the water.”
Her first reaction: call 911. Artigue told her boyfriend that he should call for emergency services, but because of the urgent tone of his voice, she pulled out of rush-hour traffic in New Haven and rushed to the scene.
When Artigue arrived, she found a group of people hanging onto the shore and forming a “chain,” trying to keep a man above the fast-moving water.
“Tom,” a middle-aged man, had suffered a seizure and fallen into a section of the West River. Unable to swim, he struggled to remain above the surface with the help of several civilians and two West Haven police officers. The chain was trying to hang on until the local fire department rescue crew could arrive, but everything seemed to Artigue to be well under control.
Then the life-defining event happened.
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