Always on duty

by Petty Officer 3rd Class Thomas M. Blue

Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Anderson, a boatswain mate from Coast Guard Station Destin, Fla., is no stranger to patrolling the waterways and protecting boaters, but on land was something new.

While driving home one afternoon, Anderson and his daughter were stopped at a traffic light, when they witnessed a traffic accident unfold beside them along Beal Parkway in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

“I could hear tires and brakes screeching, and then I saw the crash beside me,” Anderson said.

Anderson quickly pulled his car to the shoulder of the highway, made sure his daughter was safe in their car and proceeded to accident to assist the occupants.

Being no stranger to assisting people in distress, he knew what to do.

“It all happened so fast, I just reacted the way I had trained,” said Anderson.

He first assisted the car closest to him, where he found the driver dazed and disoriented, covered with glass, and not aware that he had been in a traffic accident, he added.

By this time an unmarked Fort Walton Beach Policeman, who had witnessed the accident, made his way through the traffic and began directing traffic around the accident and called for assistance.

The driver had a few scratches on his head and was extremely upset. “I told the man to calm down and sat him down while I examined him for any further injuries,” Anderson explained. “I told him not to move in case of whiplash.”

After helping the driver down on the curb to wait for paramedics, Anderson hurried to the second car involved in the accident.

There he found two women shaken and confused, he recalled.

“I explained to the women who I was and that I was here to help, but not to move paramedics were on their way,” Anderson recalled.

By this time local emergency medical services had arrived on scene and Anderson assisted the FWBPD with directing traffic until additional police officers arrived.

“In this day and age, citizen involvement is rare,” said Ted Litschauer, chief of Police from the Fort Walton Beach Police Department. “We appreciate Petty Officer Anderson’s actions in assisting our police officers and further preventing another accident.”

Anderson’s actions on that day earned him many praise and thanks from those involved. He also received a letter of appreciation from the Fort Walton Beach Police Department.

“It felt like a search and rescue case,” said Anderson. “I’m not the type of person to sit and watch people needing help…I help them.”

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One Comment

  1. Dawn says:

    Good job Paul.