SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- A Peoria soldier says his instincts kicked in when he came across an unconscious woman at Jubilee State Park two weeks ago.
"Evaluating a casualty, which I was trained on in the Illinois Army National Guard, played a vital role in what I was able to do for the woman when I found her," said Sgt. 1st Class James Rade. "I went right into my military training and kept my mind focused on the well-being of the woman."
On September 6, Rade had been scouting territory at the park for upcoming deer season when he stumbled upon Bloomington resident Susan O'Rouke, who had fallen from her horse while riding on the trails.
Rade said she was unconscious with dried blood on her forehead, leading him to believe she had been there a while.
He was able to get her to respond, proceeded to check her vitals, and then called 911.
The woman was treated at a nearby hospital and was released the following day.
Authorities say it was crucial that Rade found her when he did.
"The family was very relieved that she was found when she was and that she was not seriously injured," said Peoria County Deputy Jason Buckley. "Searches are much more difficult at night...finding her when he did, saved authorities crucial time to getting her the medical attention she needed and possibly saved her life."
O'Rourke says Rade did save her life. "I would not have survived if it wasn't for the National Guardsman that came along," she said. "He was very professional and used his skills...he kept me calm and I trusted him to make the decisions needed to care for me and administer proper first aid."