Milbank man receives medal of valor - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Milbank man receives medal of valor

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A Milbank man was recently awarded one of South Dakota's highest military honors for saving a young girls life.

South Dakota Army National Guard Soldier Major Jason Kettwig was recently awarded the medal of valor.    

The major is hoping his story of saving a life will help inspire other parents to learn CPR.

In late October of 2011, Major Jason Ketwigg and his family were staying overnight in a Marshall, Minnesota hotel for a Tae Kwan Doe tournament.

Ketwigg says after taking a swim with his two kids they were about to head to their room. 

He says he saw a mother dive into the pool and come back up to the surface with her unconscious daughter in her arms. 

"The first thing, ya know, the heart starts racing pretty hard and so the adrenaline kicked in and I knew that I had to do something to try and help," Kettwig said. 

For several minutes Major Kettwig performed CPR on the lifeless girl.

Kettwig says he told his family to call 911 immediately.

"I was just hoping that, god; I hope I'm pushing in the right spot. I hope we're getting some air into this little girl, and then finally after a few minutes she took a gasp of air," Kettwig said.

He says it's all thanks to his training.

Kettwig has been in the service for 17 years, he says during his time in the military and the community of Milbank he has learned CPR three different times. 

He says receiving the medal of valor was very exciting and that knowing the tools to save a life in a time of need is vital. 

"I was surprised, yet honored. It's a high award for the state of South Dakota and I feel like I was at the right place at the right time," Kettwig said.

Kettwig is still serving in the 139th brigade support battalion of Brookings.

He says before saving the young girls life, he had never down CPR on anyone before.

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