VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
A civilian assigned to the Combined Force Space Component Command (CFSCC) was recognized Oct. 21 for his heroic efforts administering aid to a severely injured person. The recognition ceremony took place at the Santa Barbara County Sherriff’s Office in Goleta, Calif.
Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Edgardo Coronado, CFSCC physical security specialist, received a Civilian Certificate of Merit from Santa Barbara County Sheriff and Coroner Bill Brown in front of a small audience of family, staff and media for Coronado’s “selfless actions and compassion” displayed while assisting a family in need, when he contributed to saving an injured man’s life.
Coronado was running errands on the afternoon of May 3, 2019, in Santa Maria, Calif., when he spotted a woman frantically trying to wave down cars and walking dangerously close to a very busy county road. Rather than swerve around the woman as many other cars had done before him, he decided to stop and ask how he could assist. The woman, who was also on the phone with a 9-1-1 dispatcher, told Coronado that her husband had been shot while driving and she, new to the area, was not sure how to relay her current location.
Coronado, a retired Army sergeant major with 26-years of military experience, immediately guided the woman off the roadway and checked on the injured driver, who had a severe head wound. Sitting quietly in the back seat were the wife’s parents, who were still in shock. Coronado immediately addressed the wound to stop the bleeding, ensured that the rest of the family was okay, and directed first responders to his location.
“After assessing the extent of his head injury, I knew that they would likely have to send a helicopter in to retrieve the victim,” said Coronado. “I spotted a good landing area and gave the dispatcher known points for a possible landing.”
Within minutes of his call a deputy sheriff arrived and verified the need for a CalStar air ambulance and advanced medical attention.
“I’ve seen this type of situation before,” Coronado remarked. “It reminded me of several of my deployments to Iraq, and I knew I had to remain as calm as possible to be effective and help this family.”
According to the citation in the certificate of merit, “Coronado’s actions in assisting those in need played a significant role in calming a very chaotic situation…he allowed CalStar to be alerted much sooner, helping them respond during the life-critical ‘golden hour.’”
After further investigation of the incident, it was determined that the victim was not injured by a bullet after all, but from a piece of road debris that had been kicked up by a passing vehicle into the driver’s open window.
Although it’s been more than a year since those very tense events, Coronado’s heart still quickens when he speaks of the incident. But, he has also made life-long friends because he took responsibility to respond to others in need.
“I did what I had to do to help them,” said Coronado. “I firmly believe that once you take responsibility in a situation like this you have to see it through to the end. Now, we’re like family and we still keep in touch to this day.”