Civilian honored by local National Guard unit for assisting soldier in fiery accident

Dec. 10, 2010 | By kentuckyguard
MJO Story and photo by Stephanie Hornback, the Kentucky Standard [caption id="attachment_4415" align="alignleft" width="168" caption="James Watts is congratulated as he receives the Commanders Award for Public Service at the “Charlie” Battery, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery annual awards ceremony Saturday at Parkway Baptist Church. Watts assisted a Charlie Battery soldier, Sgt. Holdun Reed, in October following a fire in Reed’s vehicle."] At its annual awards ceremony Saturday at Parkway Baptist Church, the Bardstown National Guard unit, Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, recognized someone not in its ranks for his quick action that possibly saved the life of a Charlie Battery soldier. On Oct. 30, Sgt. Holdun Reed, who lives in LaRue County but is with Charlie Battery, was driving in Bowling Green when a freak accident occurred. A cooking grill in the cab of his truck caught fire and badly burned Reed, who jumped from the vehicle into traffic. The truck went on to hit the Warren Cooperative Extension Office, but Reed remained behind. That’s when James Watts, a former EMT who happened to be at the Nashville Road/Natcher Parkway intersection at the same time, intervened. He extinguished the flames on Reed and stabilized his neck and spine until the ambulance arrived. The 26-year-old Bowling Green resident said he doesn’t remember making a conscious decision to help Reed. “I just kind of did it,” he said. Watts said he was happy to accept the award Saturday and honored that Charlie Battery would take time to recognize him. “I’m sure (Reed) would’ve done it for me,” he said. As Watts was called to the stage and all soldiers present stood at attention, the presenter said: “Mr. Watts is being awarded the Commander’s Award for Public Service for exceptionally meritorious service and selfless sacrifice on Saturday, 30 October, while providing assistance to Sgt. Holdun Reed. Your efforts, instinct, assessment and quick reaction to the situation assisted and contributed immeasurably in sparing the life and providing comfort to Sgt. Reed’s trauma and burns. These actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of patriotic support, military service and reflect distinct credit upon yourself and the citizens of the commonwealth. United we stand, divided we fall.” The Commander’s Award for Public Service is the fourth-highest honor the United States Department of the Army can bestow upon a civilian.

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