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Service before self: Schriever Airman saves neighbor

Dog attacks can happen anywhere. It’s smart to think ahead and know how to react in the event of an attack. (U.S. Air Force infographic by Airman Amanda Lovelace)

Dog attacks can happen anywhere. It’s smart to think ahead and know how to react in the event of an attack. (U.S. Air Force infographic by Airman Amanda Lovelace)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Senior Airman Stephen Harrison, 50th Space Communications Squadron client systems technician, ran to aid a woman and her dog from an attack Sep. 17 at Fort Carson, Colorado.

Harrison was pulling into his driveway when he saw two large dogs off their leashes running around by his home.

“I stepped out of my car, and the dogs started barreling down the street,” he said. “I looked in the direction they were running and saw an older woman come out of her house with her dog, and at that point I thought, ‘Oh no, that’s not good.’”

As soon as Harrison saw that the dogs were running toward his neighbor, he sprang into action. With his brother following closely behind him, they ran to the woman’s aid.

“Once we got there, she was on the ground,” said Harrison. “She had just lunged over her dog so the [other dogs] couldn’t get to it.”

Not even seconds after arriving, Harrison got the dogs off the woman, and with the help of his brother, ensured both she and her dog were able to get inside her home safely.

“I had to go help her, there was no other choice,” he said. “I would want someone to do the same for me, so without hesitation, I just started running toward her.”

Staff Sgt. Adrian Payne, 50th SCS non-commissioned officer in charge of client systems and base equipment control office, said he was proud of Harrison’s courageous actions.

“My initial thought was, ‘Wow, what a brave individual,’” Payne said. “He went toe-to-toe with two [dogs he didn’t know], a truly selfless action.”

Harrison said he’d been attacked by two dogs during his childhood and was fully aware of how dangerous an encounter can be.

“It doesn’t matter if I would’ve gotten hurt,” he said. “As long as I helped her and her dog stay safe, it’s definitely worth it. If you see someone you can help, help them. It’s our job.”

Harrison’s courage, vigilance, situational awareness and military training all played a role in the positive outcome of the situation. Harrison said the Air Force core values also influence his decision making.

“It’s important to be aware of your surroundings at all times, because being vigilant saves lives,” Payne said. “Military training prepares us to be ready. SrA Harrison [made] a quick decision to act, putting his life on the line to save others.”

For Harrison’s actions, Lt. Col. Anthony Lang, 50th SCS commander, presented him with a squadron coin as a form of recognition. Harrison strongly encouraged other Airmen to help out whenever they can.

“Everyone looks at [Airmen] and they hold us to a higher standard,” Harrison said. “It’s important for us to show we’re always here to help, no matter what, in or out of uniform.”

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