A routine afternoon quickly became anything but.
Jelynn DeCrow, a senior at Grissom High School, saw an accident unfold as she drove home after school as a motorcyclist went over a guardrail on Mountain Gap Road. She was the first person on the scene. What she saw was too gruesome to describe.
DeCrow acted on instinct, training and “adrenaline did kick in.” She was wearing her JROTC uniform and quickly removed her belt to use as a tourniquet.
I didn’t know I was really capable of that. It just happened, and I knew I had to do something.”
By all reports, she didn’t just save the cyclist’s leg. She saved his life.
On Monday, her heroic actions on the afternoon of September 21 were recognized in an assembly program with her fellow cadets in Grissom’s Junior ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) program.
Before she was called to the stage, the corps stood at attention and recited the Cadet Pledge. Among the lines:
“I will always conduct myself to bring credit to my family, country, school, and the corps of cadets.”
Which is what Jelynn DeCrow did that September afternoon. For her heroics, Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray presented her a certificate of recognition, as well as a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Tommy Battle.
McMurray referred to her “good citizenship, good leadership” and called her “a credit to your cadet program at Grissom.”
Top ROTC honor
She was presented the Medal of Heroism, the highest honor presented to an ROTC cadet.
“There aren’t many opportunities for us to go through life to see if we can live up to expectations of being a hero,” said LTC Johnnie Richardson, who served in the U.S. Army for more than 30 years and now heads up Grissom’s ROTC program. “Most people go through their whole lives not able to see if they have what it takes.”
In the blink of an eye, DeCrow was able to prove her heroism.
“I didn’t know I was really capable of that,” she said. “It just happened and I knew I had to do something.”
DeCrow was first on the scene, then received assistance from an off-duty EMT who was passing by. Quickly, Huntsville Fire and Rescue and HEMSI crews were on the scene. Said DeCrow, “Everybody jumped in to help.”
Along with the quick-thinking to apply a tourniquet to deal with one of two severe wounds, she was praised by the victim’s family for her words of encouragement and calm.
“I don’t really feel like a hero,” she said. “It could have been anybody.”
Proclamation from Mayor Tommy Battle
WHEREAS, Jelynn DeCrow, a student at Grissom High School, encountered an accident on September 21, 2017, in which a motorcycle rider had been thrown over a guardrail and suffered severe injuries; and
WHEREAS, Jelynn DeCrow reacted with extraordinary composure in reaching the victim, assessing the situation and taking command until emergency professionals arrived on the scene; and
WHEREAS, Jelynn DeCrow applied her first-aid skills in a life-saving manner, quickly removing her belt to apply as a tourniquet, an act that medical personnel say enabled the victim to survive to undergo successful emergency surgery; and
WHEREAS, Jelynn DeCrow not only administered proper first aid but was praised by the victim for providing words of calmness and assurance throughout the incident; and
WHEREAS, her heroic actions of the day have come to the attention of the Huntsville City Schools and the administration of Grissom High School, which salute her and express their pride and appreciation; and
WHEREAS, Jelynn DeCrow and her deeds have been brought to the attention of the Huntsville Police Department, Huntsville Fire and Rescue and HEMSI, all of whom praise her for her response on September 21; and
WHEREAS, Jelynn DeCrow has demonstrated good citizenship and leadership skills in her involvement as a Cadet in the Grissom High Junior ROTC program and exemplifies the high standards of that program
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Tommy Battle, Mayor of the Huntsville, Alabama do hereby recognize the life-saving heroism of
Grissom High School