Iowa State University cadet awarded ROTC Medal for Heroism for saving a life

An Iowa State University student has received the Department of the Army’s highest medal for the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. The award is presented to cadets who perform acts of heroism.

Cadet Nicole Donato, Champlin, was awarded the ROTC Medal for Heroism for administering medical assistance and CPR after a car accident last October. Col. Dean Shultis, Commander, 3rd Brigade, United States Army Command, presented the medal during the Cyclone Battalion’s Military Ball, April 27.

Donato, a kinesiology and health major, was driving from Minnesota to Iowa State’s Ames campus on I-35 when she was involved in a high-speed accident. A rear tire of the vehicle in front of her fell off and flew into her windshield. Donato’s car collided with that vehicle and both went off the road.

Although dazed from a severe concussion and minor lacerations and bruises, Donato had the wherewithal to check on the other driver. He was unconscious and not breathing. She pulled him from the car and began CPR until police arrived. The EMT on the scene told Donato she had saved the man’s life.

“I didn’t realize what I was doing. We get so much training in ROTC that I automatically knew what to do,” Donato said. “We learn real-life skills.”

The citation from Maj. Gen. Jeffery A. Smith, Commander, U.S. Army Cadet Command, commended Donato as “a credit to the Army values and quick thinking leadership skills she aspires to live by,” adding that she deserves “our utmost gratitude and recognition of her selfless service and personal courage in a dangerous situation.”

Donato plans to work in the army’s medical field after she commissions as a second lieutenant.

Donato, a 2011 graduate of Champlin High School, is the daughter of Tony and Elaine Donato, Champlin.

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