A Chance to Help a Hero: Marine Spouse Aids Drowning Marine
Posted: 07.02.2009 10:12
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – While swimming at the area two pool here, June 18, with her 18-month-old son, Sarah Elliott, the assistant family readiness officer for 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, saw a Marine swimming near them in the shallow end.
After swimming laps, Sgt. Sam Sokphal, Wounded Warrior Battalion-East, Wounded Warrior Regiment, had a seizure wading in the water. While holding her son and calling for help, Elliott pulled Sokphal up and kept his head above water while she waited for assistance. Sokphal was taken to the hospital and released after his recovery.
Sokphal, who suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in his arm and pain in his back due to surgery, said he uses the pool as a way to ease back into physical activity.
“The swimming helps a lot with the nerve damage. It hurts at first, but feels much better the more you do it,” he said.
Elliott said when she saw Sokphal submerged in the water, she thought he was holding his breath, but when he didn’t come up she came closer to see if he was alright.
“He was on the edge of the pool and underwater, shaking. I walked over to see if he was alright, but had the feeling he wasn’t okay,” Elliott said. “He didn’t respond when I touched his arm, and that’s when I pulled him up out of the water and called for help.”
After Sokphal was taken from the pool in an ambulance, Elliott tried to find out who he was to check on him, but could only learn his first name from lifeguards at the pool.
“I was told he was a single Marine with [Wounded Warrior Battalion-East] and I don’t like the thought of someone being by himself going through that traumatic experience,” Elliott said.
Elliott has been volunteering with the battalion since April, and is known as a caring person…
“Her biggest concern was making sure he was doing okay,” said Shelley Rodriguez, family readiness officer, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines. “The fact that she saved him is one thing, but the fact that she was so concerned about his well being speaks depths about her character.”