By Spc. Brianna Rhodes, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
An Oklahoma Army National Guard Soldier driving home after training found himself faced with a crisis along a stretch of Interstate 35 near Denton, Texas, on April 30.
Spc. Colton Huckaby of Azle, Texas, and a member of 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, was on his way home when he came across the aftermath of a serious multi-vehicle accident.
"I'm glad it wasn't more severe," Huckaby said. "I think I lived up to what I was supposed to do."
Huckaby, who said he was on the scene for about 15 minutes before emergency medical services arrived, was quick to calm down one of the drivers involved and help redirect traffic to ease the already heavily-congested highway.
Huckaby was not the only Guardsman on the scene. Another member of the 179th, 1st Lt. Chris Hales of Tulsa, Oklahoma, also stopped at the scene of the accident and called 911.
"How could I pass by and not help," Hales said.
Huckaby and Hales were the only people to stop and assist at the scene before EMS arrived and the two stayed and assisted for almost an hour and a half.
"The victims were pretty shaken up," Huckaby said. "They just seemed happy to see us, especially since we were still in uniform."
This is the second time for Huckaby to prove the National Guard's motto of "Always Ready, Always There".
On October 24, 2015, a driver slammed into a crowd watching the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade, killing four people and injuring dozens more. Huckaby and other Soldiers from the 179th had just finished marching in the parade and rushed to help first responders at the scene.
"It just seems like my responsibility," Huckaby said about helping during crises.
Though he has little medical experience outside of the Combat Lifesaver Course (CLS), a fast-paced emergency medical course taught to Soldiers during basic training, Huckaby said he hopes to one day become a certified first responder or paramedic.
"I remember my drill sergeant in basic training told us we should take the knowledge we gain from the CLS course and apply it to our everyday lives when necessary," Huckaby said.
Huckaby's squad leader, Staff Sgt. Michael Davis of Hominy, Oklahoma, had high praise for the Soldier.
"Huckaby is a special and great Soldier," Davis said. "He's really making a difference."