CONCORD, N.H. – Staff Sgt. Dante Davis was stuck in traffic when he spotted an overturned SUV against the Interstate 93 South guardrail in Manchester at night on Dec. 15.
He immediately pulled over, exited his vehicle and rushed over.
As Davis approached the car, he realized all the airbags had deployed.
“I couldn’t see inside the cabin,” said Davis, an operations noncommissioned officer with 54th Troop Command. “As I got closer, I could hear a woman yelling for help.”
He forced open a door and extricated the driver. He rendered first aid for a head injury and waited until police and fire personnel arrived.
While the New Hampshire Army National Guardsman downplayed the significance of his actions, the official written report indicated otherwise.
“At risk to his safety, in the dark and the rain, he made his way across three lanes of active traffic to check on those involved,” wrote Lt. Michael Meehan of the Manchester Fire Department.
Soldiers in Davis’s unit were not surprised.
“His actions do not surprise me,” said Maj. Richard Brown, operations officer with the 54th TC. “This is consistent with how he conducts himself daily.”
“Davis’s heart is always in the right place,” he added. “He is one of the most morally, [and] ethically sound NCOs I’ve had the pleasure of working with. His love for the community and our Guardsmen knows no limit.”
Davis’s other team members describe him as one of the most humble, hardworking, caring and driven humans they have ever met.
“What most people don’t know is he’s also a combat veteran,” said Capt. Robert Matzelle, training officer with the 54th TC. “When you first walk up to him, he’s very quiet and calm. When you get to know him, you’re like, ‘Wow, this guy has been around the block.’”
Matzelle said the presence Davis brings to work is refreshing.
“Davis is exactly the kind of Soldier anyone wants to work with and be around,” he said. “I’m proud of him.”
For Davis, it was simple: it was his duty to assist.
“This is a human, and no one was doing anything; no one was stopping to help,” Davis said when asked why he did. “Imagine what it would feel like to be trapped in a car, having just been in an accident. We’d all be afraid.”
Coincidentally, the day after the incident, Davis graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Simmons University in Boston.
“I did not do this for myself or the glorification,” Davis said. “I’m really just glad I could help someone. That’s what it’s all about for me.”
Davis said that once he completes his licensing exam this month, he looks forward to working in an Emergency Department where he can continue to help those in need.
“I think the world could use a little bit more humanity,” he said. “As a New Hampshire Guardsmen, these are our people, this is our community. These are the people we swore an oath to look after and protect.”