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NEWS | Sept. 21, 2012

Illinois Guard Soldier helps rescue unconscious equestrian

By Sgt. Robert R. Adams Illinois National Guard

PEORIA, Ill. - Immediate actions taken by an Illinois Soldier ensured the safety of an unconscious woman who had fallen from a horse in a state park.

Sgt. 1st Class James Rade, of the Illinois Recruiting and Retention Battalion in Springfield, used his military training to evaulate the situation and respond to get medical assistance for Susan O'Rourke, of Bloomington, Ill.

Rade stopped at Jubilee State Park after work to scout for the upcoming deer season. While walking down one of the trails on the 3,200-acre park grounds, Rade came across O'Rourke, who was unconscious and bleeding.

Calling out to her, Rade said he tried to get her to speak. Rade said dried blood on her forehead led him to believe she had been lying there for quite some time.

"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," he said. "I went right into my military training and kept my mind focused on the well-being of the woman."

When Rade reached O'Rourke, he was able to get her to respond. He said he could tell she was confused, but responsive. He proceeded to check her vitals to make sure no other immediate attention was necessary and then called 911.

Emergency personnel arrived and transported O'Rourke to a hospital, which released her the next day.

"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. Rade, finding her when he did, saved authorities crucial time to getting her the medical attention she needed and possibly saved her life."

O'Rourke said Rade was the right person at the right time.

"I would not have survived if it wasn't for the National Guardsman that came along and saved my life," O'Rourke said. "He was very professional and used his skills to make the decision on whether to have someone come help me or to walk out of the woods with me. He kept me calm and I trusted him to make the decisions needed to care for me and administer proper first aid. I could have been there all night without food or water."