Air National Guardsman Honored With Utah Cross After Helping Crash Victim
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A medic with the Utah Air National Guard was honored for the bravery he showed while responding to a head-on crash while off duty in spring 2020.
“I was doing my job,” said Technical Sgt. Erik Bornemeier of the 151st Air Refueling Wing. “As soon as I got out of the car and I grabbed my kit, I was doing my job.”
Bornemeier was awarded the Utah Cross on Monday for going above and beyond the call of duty. That’s the second highest state award in the National Guard. It was presented to him during a ceremony at the Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base in Salt Lake City.
Around 5 a.m. on June 2, 2020, Bornemeier was headed to the Mountain America Expo Center where he was working on coronavirus testing with the COVID-19 Task Force, when a crash happened in front of him on State Street near the intersection of 7200 South.
“I pulled up on the accident. I saw the debris from the accident,” he said. “The first thing I do is I take a deep breath.”
That enabled him to set his sights on the work ahead and rely on his training as a medic with the Air Force and as a commander with the Davis County Search & Rescue team.
“It was a head-on collision between a car and a motorcycle, and those tend to inflict a lot of damage,” said Bornemeier.
He crossed traffic with his medical bag to help the injured motorcyclist until emergency crews arrived. He applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and tried to comfort the patient.
Unfortunately, the rider later died from his injuries, but Bornemeier’s commanding officer said the nobility of the act remains.
Bornemeier was the last person to speak with that victim.
“It’s a hallowed, sacred time for a first responder to sometimes get those last words, and I was able to get those to the family,” the sergeant said.
They have been trained to always be serving, he said.
“They’re not just words, they’re actually things we do,” Bornemeier said. “And that’s some of the things that I take to heart and I try to employ into my day-to-day activities.”
“Thank you for what you do,” Major General Michael Turley, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, said to Bornemeier. “You make us proud to be a member of an organization that would have a person such as you.”
In fact, Bornemeier has been part of Utah’s COVID-19 response since May.
“This is awesome work and an awesome task,” he said.
The sergeant currently spends his days vaccinating Utahns. At the time of the crash, he was helping residents get tested for COVID-19.
“We’re delivering another vaccine, and to be part of this effort has been incredible,” he said.
Bornemeier was proud to receive the honor.
“It’s, to some degree, a mantle of responsibility,” he said. “Where much is given, much is expected. It’s an honor.”
Even though he was honored for bravery above and beyond the call of duty, he said whenever he picks up his bag, he’s just doing his job.
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