News | June 17, 2021

Team 432 Airman saves fellow Ironman

By Senior Airman William Rio Rosado 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

During his first Ironman triathlon, Senior Airman Levi began a cycling journey that led him to a fellow competitor fighting for their life. 20 miles into the bike portion, he approached a crowd of people surrounding an athlete who collapsed due to a heart attack. A wave of panic grew but at the center of it all, a woman had already begun cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Some bystanders recorded while others made calls to 911. Without a second thought, Levi got off of his bike and offered his help.

Levi, 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, administered CPR to a competitor and assisted in actions which saved their life on May 1, 2021 at the Ironman 70.3 North American Championship St. George, in Utah.

 “It was second nature to jump into action,” Levi said. “There were two other gentleman there but they were frozen in the moment.”

Levi assured the woman he had just been CPR certified when she asked if he knew what he was doing.

 “As I began my first set of compressions, a rush of adrenaline came over me and the next few moments seemed to blend together,” Levi said.

They continued compressions and switched out with each other until the paramedics arrived. Upon arrival, Levi kept his pace as they prepared to use the automated external defibrillator. To everyone’s surprise, when the man came to, he immediately expressed his want to continue the race.

The competitor was taken to a nearby hospital and Levi continued on with his journey to the finish line. As he pedaled for 30 more miles and ran the remaining 13 in the run portion, Levi said he could not stop thinking of the competitor and if he was making a full recovery.

“I didn’t even stay after I finished the race,” Levi said. “I told my dad we had to go to the hospital because I had to find out if this guy was okay.”

Levi made it to the hospital, but they would not release the status of the competitor. In hopes of reaching him, Levi left his cell phone number and waited for a call.

Eventually, he got a call from the man’s wife and she thanked him for helping save her husband’s life. She and her husband expressed their gratitude for Levi’s actions and explained he is on the road to recovery.

 “That was just the (Levi) thing to do,” Staff Sgt. Alex, 432nd AMXS crew chief and co-worker said. “He’s the type of guy to drop everything he’s doing to go help somebody out.”

Levi’s leadership recognized his heroic actions and presented him with an Air Force Commendation Medal.

“Senior Airman Levi plays a crucial role in our aircraft maintenance units,” said Chief Master Sgt. Mark, 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent. “Levi is always quick to show initiative and his attention to detail shows in all of his work. He truly demonstrates genuine care for not only his co-workers but also for everyone he interacts with.”

His wingmen also expressed their gratitude for him in the workplace.

“He’s a team first kind of guy that looks out for other people,” Alex said. “He wants us to succeed as a team and I think that’s huge. It’s a mentality a lot more people need to have.”

Levi shared he’s wanted to be in special warfare since he was young and is currently in the process of re-training with the hope of going in as an air combat controller.

“I enlisted because it was still burning in my soul,” Levi said.

A journey that led him to saving a life is only a chapter in Levi’s story. His Air Force journey continues as he plans to compete in more races and prepare for a future in combat control.