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Nigeria’s Ehiarinmwian is USO Soldier of the year 2020

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MARY Ehiarinmwian, a Nigerian-born sergeant of the 523rd Engineer Support Company, a unit which falls under the brigade’s 84th Engineer Battalion in the U.S. Army, has been named the United Services Organization (USO), Soldier of the Year 2020, for her show of bravery when she rescued a fellow soldier from a burning car in June.

This was contained in a statement released by the U.S. Army.

Ehiarinmwian who is assigned to the 8th Theater Sustainment Command’s 130th Engineer Brigade, was on her way to Physical Training (PT), when the driver of a black Honda CR-X, who unknown to her was also a soldier from her unit, lost control of his car and collided with a road sign before somersaulting and piercing through the top of a security gate.

The brave soldier who later said she believes there was a purpose for her being there, followed her instincts without hesitation; she pulled over, got out of her car, and rushed toward the injured driver pulled him from the smoke-filled vehicle with an underarm drag after assessing that he was okay and not in any pain before proceeding to attend her PT.

“I felt like the car was going to burst into flames, but at the time, I didn’t think of the danger,” she recounted, adding that she believes she could have simply called first responders instead of taking action but explained that “every second counts” in emergency situations and every little hesitation could have led to a worse result.

READ ALSO: Two Nigerian-Americans clinch legislative seats in US elections

According to Ehiarinmwian, “It’s good to lend a helping hand. If I didn’t stop, no one would have been there to help him. After all, it’s just human nature to help other people.”

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Michael A. Grinston, the Sergeant Major of the Army said of her: “I’m very proud of Sgt. Ehiarinmwian. This is exactly the type of leader the Army builds — someone that is decisive and quick to take the appropriate action. After talking with her and hearing her story, it’s a great reminder that our Army is full of people from all walks of life, looking for something bigger than themselves”.

Born in Nigeria, Ehiarinmwian immigrated to Germany as a child. After getting married and finishing school, she relocated to the United States in 2016, in search of something different. She first worked at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where she was inspired by the professionalism of the local drill sergeants and in 2017, she joined the Army.

The USO is a nonprofit organization that focuses on armed forces members and their families. Each year, the United Service Organizations (USO) honours the heroism of junior enlisted service members, E-5 or below, with the USO Service Member of the Year Awards.

Service members from each branch of the military are nominated by their command leadership for performing acts of valour that go above and beyond the call of duty and who embody the standards and values of the Armed Forces and the USO.

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