ABILENE, Texas (DYESS AFB) – It started out like every other day. He got ready to start his normal daily routine, and shortly after that is when things went astray.
As Airman 1st Class Elton San Juan, 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit offensive avionics system journeyman, drove to Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, to workout he noticed a large amount of smoke coming from a residential area on Aug. 11, 2021. He then decided to drive toward the fire to ensure those who could be affected by it were safe.
“As I drove past the house and saw the fire, I knew I needed to help,” San Juan said. “After arriving on scene I did everything I could to ensure everyone was safe.”
Upon arriving at the scene San Juan immediately sprang into action. He alerted the neighbors of the fire and helped safely remove the occupant from the house with the large fire in the backyard to a safe location while awaiting the arrival of personnel from the Abilene Fire Department.
“He is a prime example of excellence in action,” said Tech. Sgt. James Jackson, 9th AMU B-1B specialist section chief. “Something clicked in his head that led him to believe something isn’t right with the house as he drove by that day. He trusted his instincts and ended up saving the day.”
San Juan was recognized on Sept. 3, 2021, by the AFD with the AFD Lifesaver award for his courage and actions that he displayed during the incident.
A fire investigator with the Abilene Fire Department stated that San Juan’s actions undoubtedly saved the occupant from fire injuries or worse.
“He is a respectful man who upholds the core values of our Fire Department and the Air Force,” said Cande Flores, AFD fire chief. “I am grateful that we have men and women, just like him, serving our country.”
Even though San Juan has never been put in this position before or trained for it, the values that his parents and the Air Force instilled in him helped lead him to do the right thing.
“It felt great being able to help during this incident, but I didn’t do it alone,” San Juan said. “I received help from people in the neighborhood to bring people to a safer location until the firefighters arrived on scene. I’m glad that everyone involved was safe the incident.”