NEWS | March 16, 2021

Utah Guardsman receives Utah Cross for aiding crash victim

By Tech. Sgt. Colton Elliott 151st Air Refueling wing

A Guardsman from the 151st Air Refueling Wing, Utah Air National Guard, was presented the Utah Cross by the Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Michael J. Turley on March 15, 2021.

Tech. Sgt. Erik Bornemeier, a medical technician assigned to the 151st Medical Group, Detachment 1, distinguished himself as the first person to respond to the scene of a head-on motor vehicle/motorcycle accident on the morning of June 2, 2020.

On his way to work, Bornemeier was the first on scene of a head-on collision between a car and a motorcycle, and the victim from the motorcycle was lying in the road. He exited his vehicle and grabbed his medical kit out of the trunk of his car. He assessed the situation and moved across active lanes of traffic to get to the victim.

“The first thing I did was take a deep breath,” said Bornemeier. “As a medic, I am trained to triage and sort by priority and he was the highest priority.”

Once he arrived at the victim's side, he realized that the victim was in critical condition, with mass amounts of trauma, bleeding, and upper and lower limb compound fractures. He instinctively and without hesitation, began to render aid.

“The honest truth is that none of us know that we’ll do the right thing until presented with that moment,” said Turley. “I can safely say that in this event, Sergeant Bornemeier did the right thing, at the right time, and for the right reasons.”

Bornemeier exhibited valor and heroism with his quick action and utilizing his medical skills while also putting himself at risk by performing these actions in active lanes of traffic.

“I fell straight into my medical training the Air Force has given me,” he said. “We are taught to always be serving, and at that time I was just doing my job.”

The Utah Cross is the second highest state award that a Utah National Guard military member can receive. It is awarded only to those who distinguish themselves with bravery above and beyond the call of duty.

“On behalf of the Utah National Guard, Sergeant Bornemeier, thank you for what you do, said, Turley. “You make us proud to be a member of an organization that would have a person such as you, I’m proud to wear the cloth of the nation with you.”

It was later discovered that the injured motorcyclist succumbed to their injuries and passed away later that day. Bornemeier was able to contact with the family and pass along individual’s final message.

“It’s sacred to be able to receive those last words and it was an absolute honor to be able to share them with the victim’s family,” said Bornemeier.