A cannon crew member with the 101st Airborne Division received the Soldier’s Medal Monday for his actions that saved two lives last year, the Army announced in a press release.
Staff Sgt. Nicholas Davis is a cannon crew member and section chief assigned to the 101st Airborne’s 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment.
On June 9, Davis came across an overturned vehicle on the highway to Georgia.
Noticing no else had stopped, he pulled over and found found Rick and Sharon Steiert.
“I was pulling up, and I noticed there was a small engine fire underneath the belly of the car, so I jumped out and ran up to the vehicle,” said Davis, a Georgia native, in the press release.
The couple was trapped in their vehicle and soaked in gasoline from a container that had been thrown from the back of the car.
Davis was able to free Rick first, but as he worked to release Sharon, the car burst into flames.
“As I was [unbuckling her seat belt] the whole vehicle caught fire, and I just felt a blanket of fire wrap around my body, and everything just happened in a matter of seconds from there,” Davis said. “But before I could get the other half of her body out, she caught fire from all the fuel that was on her.”
“I noticed she was on fire [shortly] before noticing that I was on fire too,” he added.
Davis still managed to free Sharon, just before emergency responders arrived and transported them both to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, according to the press release.
Davis suffered second-degree burns on more than 75 percent of his lower leg.
“They [doctors] said five seconds longer and I would have been halfway through a third-degree burn and almost into the fourth degree,” Davis said in the press release. “It was a very painful recovery, but nothing compared to what Sharon had to deal with, so I don’t complain about it.”
Although, Sharon’s burns were more severe, she would eventually recover as well, and wrote to Davis to thank him for his help that summer day.
Sharon and Rick, along with their son, were in attendance at Davis’ ceremony as he was honored with the Soldier’s Medal — the Army’s highest peacetime award for valor.
Davis, a seven-year combat veteran with deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan, received praise for his heroism, as his leadership spoke about his character.
“A lesser man, a lesser soldier, a lesser person, never would have stopped, let alone gone in two separate times and pulled them to safety,” said Maj. Gen. Andrew Poppas, the 101st Airborne Division’s commanding general, in a statement. “We’re honoring his acts that are an example for us all. It’s who we should be, no matter what the endeavor, and how we should act when we come across an event like he did.”
That sentiment was echoed during the ceremony by Davis’ platoon leader, 1st Lt. Charles Trumpfheller.
“He’s just an all-around good soldier,” Trumpfheller said. “He’ll do anything for anybody and really, he’s one of those [non-commissioned officers] who you can count on to get things done.”