22:16 PM

Ky. Staff Officer Recognized for Lifesaving

2nd Lt. Kathy Mills
Assistant Public Affairs Officer
Kentucky Wing

Maj. Nick Birt

Maj. Nick Birt, Kentucky Wing director of cadet programs and Group V commander, was honored June 5 with the Certificate of Recognition for Lifesaving after halting a car headed toward pedestrians while he was participating in a COVID-19 vaccination mission in downtown Philadelphia.

Birt and other Civil Air Patrol members were directing people into the Philadelphia City Convention Center for vaccinations April 24 when he saw a vehicle turn onto the one-way street, heading the wrong way in a cordoned-off lane for pedestrian traffic. Two pedestrians were in the lane and more than 10 others were in the immediate area.

“I was standing by the railings where there were a couple of people getting ready to come in, so I moved them out of the way and just walked out, stood in the lane, put my hands out in front of me and yelled ‘Stop!’ at him,” Birt said.

“It was just a reaction,” he said. “Your first reaction is to shout. In this case, I shouted, put my hands in the air to get his attention, and stopped him before he injured anyone.”

The driver was just confused and not intending to harm anyone, Birt said.

Chief Master Sgt. Cory Felts, Kentucky Wing command noncommissioned officer, witnessed the incident and wrote that “Birt distinguished himself in a heroic and selfless manner. He placed himself in harm’s way between the vehicle and pedestrian traffic while simultaneously directing pedestrian traffic into an adjacent area for their immediate safety.”

“His reaction and assessment of the situation was quick and sure from the start to the finish,” Felts said.

“It wasn’t a big deal,” Birt said. “It was more of an ‘OK, I averted that disaster, on to the next one.’"