Delivering a rescue with lunch

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Taylor Crul
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- In America, falls are a leading cause of fatal injuries for the elderly. Staff Sgt. Michael Vanlear, assigned to the 71st Installation Support Squadron, helped prevent one of those fatalities recently.

Vanlear has been a part of the Meals on Wheels program, better known in town as Enid Mobile Meals, for most of his Air Force career. This program delivers meals to individuals at home who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals.

Betty McDonald has been using the Enid Mobile Meals service since July of 2018, and since joining the program, Vanlear has been the one to deliver her food every Tuesday.

“Miss Betty has been my last delivery for the past seven months and over that time we have developed a nice relationship,” says Vanlear. “She would always ask me how I am doing, ask me about the planes and what is going on at the base.”

Volunteers typically deliver meals five days a week around lunch time. When Vanlear got to his last stop April 28, he saw something a little odd.

“I noticed that there was a meal left over from the day before sitting outside,” said Vanlear.

Judging from the look of the food, it appeared to have been there for a while. Wanting to make sure Betty got her meal and to see if she was okay, Vanlear knocked on the door.

He heard her call, “Help! Help! Help!”

Yelling through the door Vanlear asked what was wrong. Betty had fallen and for almost two days been on the floor, too hurt to move, yelling for help.

Vanlear rushed into see what he could do to help.

“I called 911. Within five minutes EMTs arrived, stabilized her, and rushed her to the hospital,” said Vanlear.

Betty was eventually released with a clean bill of health and a new in-home caregiver to support her 24/7.
For his actions, Vanlear received a proclamation, signed by George Pankonin, the mayor of Enid, during a city council meeting, May 19.

Vanlear is grateful for the proclamation, but said he was just doing what he would want anybody else to do.