Javel Kenty-Montgomery thought the bloody man on the ground at her feet was going to die.
The Saint Leo University MacDill Education Office student came to the aid of Jason Pool after he was struck from behind by a car while riding his bicycle.
"I've seen death before right in front of my face so I knew if he did die, he wasn't going to die alone because I was right there," Kenty-Montgomery said. She is an Army veteran and now serves in the Army Reserve.
On the evening of September 15, Pool, an Air Force veteran who lives in St. Petersburg, was riding his bicycle back to his home. A car traveling east on Gandy Boulevard in Pinellas County struck his bicycle, which was in the bicycle lane, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Kenty-Montgomery, a full-time student majoring in criminal justice, was driving to school when she saw a white car swerving on Gandy Boulevard. "I thought it was teenagers or someone drunk," she said. "Then out of nowhere, I saw the car run into bike. It looked like a jacket flying up in the air, but it was his body (she said of Pool)."
The drivers of three automobiles driving in front of Kenty-Montgomery stopped. "I thought they were going to help," she said. "But they just were taking pictures. No one told the driver not to leave." The driver of the vehicle fled.
She got out of her vehicle and walked to check on the battered and bloodied Pool, 41. She asked others for help. One woman, who Kenty-Montgomery said was a nurse, would not help Pool, and advised her not to either. Kenty-Montgomery, who is 6 months pregnant, ignored the woman. "He wasn't responding," she said. Her military training kicked in and she began performing CPR on Pool. The nurse did retrieve a piece of clothing from her car so that Kenty-Montgomery could wipe Pool's blood from her face.
When Pool was revived, he kept saying, " 'My son, my son is at home,' " Kenty-Montgomery said. Pool's son, T.J., had only moved in with him on September 9, and he was concerned about what would happen to him.
The FHP and an ambulance arrived, and Kenty-Montgomery said once again Pool "was out. They had to give him CPR again. My last thought as he was loaded into the ambulance was that he was dead."
Pool was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.
"I have zero memory of the crash," Pool said. "I do remember Javel. I do remember being put on a backboard and waking up in the ambulance. I saw police lights. I said, 'Where am I?' "
Kenty-Montgomery and Pool, both Pinellas County residents, connected first through social media and by telephone. They finally met in person when Bay News 9 reunited them. "I owe her so much," Pool said. "She doesn't even realize."
To that end, Pool has recommended Kenty-Montgomery be awarded the Soldier's Medal, which goes "to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States, distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy."
Helping someone in need was just "being a good person," Kenty-Montgomery said of her actions that September day. "That was someone's father, that was someone who needed help."
Tom Williams, assistant director of Saint Leo's MacDill Education Office, emphasized that Kenty-Montgomery was the only person to come to the aid of Pool before the first responders arrived. "And she is passionate about that," he said. "She is the only one who would stop and give CPR."
Pool has been tireless in his efforts to get Kenty-Montgomery recognized for her lifesaving-efforts. Several area TV stations have reported their story.
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