A Fort Bliss soldier's successful efforts to save a man's life after a car crash late last month is the perfect illustration of the commitment our soldiers have to not only defending American lives abroad, but preserving them right here at home.

Army journalist Wendy Brown reports that Sgt. Trey Troney was on his way home to Raleigh, Mississippi on December 22, 2018 when he came across the site of a traffic collision on Interstate 20 near Sweetwater, TX.

Troney noticed a man, later identified as Jeff Udger of Longview, TX, slumped over the steering wheel of his truck with a gash on his head. Troney, who'd recently undergone medic training at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, started to render aid when he noticed that the left side of Udger's chest wasn't moving.

Realizing Udger's lung had collapsed, Troney ran to his vehicle to grab a first aid kit and needle chest compression unit (NCD). Troney's first attempt at using the NCD failed, as the needle wasn't large enough to reach the collapsed lung and relieve the pressure.

That was when he went looking for a pen and got creative. He removed the ink and used the tube to help him get the NCD into the lung.

"I took the NCD and put it right in the hole and kind of wiggled (the pen) in with my hand in between the ribs and you just started to see the bubbles come out of the tip, and I was like, 'OK, we're good,'" Troney said.

A state trooper arrived and was astonished to see what Troney had just done. When paramedics arrived, they credited Troney with saving Udger's life, and the state trooper bough the soldier lunch.

Before Udger lost consciousness, Troney wrapped his New Orleans Saints hoodie around Udger's head to stop the bleeding. Both men recall Udger saying, "Well, this is Cowboy country, so I don't know how I feel about you wrapping me up in a Saints hoodie."

Troney initially worried that Udger might seek legal action against him (you know how litigious our nation can be, especially when it comes to medicine), but the two have kept in touch and Udger is nothing but grateful for Troney's quick thinking and care.

"Young man, you will always be my hero," Udger wrote Troney in an email. "Continue to give back to this world and the people in it. You truly will never know when you will make a life-changing impact to someone."

Udger even offered to replace Troney's hoodie, but Troney isn't worried about it. He's just glad he was in the right place at the right time with the training and resources to help.

"You're just there and you might have what they need," said Troney. "He needed an ink pen to the ribs. Luckily I had an ink pen."

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