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ND National Guard soldiers receive Keeble Award for life-saving effort

Col. Todd Schaffer, Col. Brian Keller, Maj. Annie Gerhardt and Maj. Waylon Tomac received the award for helping save Brig. Gen. Jon Erickson’s life when he had a heart attack.

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Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, North Dakota adjutant general, presents The Woodrow W. Keeble “Je Suis Pret” (I am Ready) Awards to (from left) Maj. Annie Gerhard, Devils Lake, Col. Todd Schaffer, Carrington, and Col. Brian Keller, Dickinson, at an awards presentation at the Raymond J. Bohn armory on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022 in Bismarck.
Submitted photo / Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland
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BISMARCK – Four North Dakota National Guard soldiers were recognized for their life-saving actions with the presentation of the Woodrow W. Keeble “Je Suis Pret” (I am Ready) Award.

Col. Todd Schaffer, Col. Brian Keller, Maj. Annie Gerhardt and Maj. Waylon Tomac were recognized for their exceptional response to a medical emergency on April 9, 2022.

The four soldiers sprang into action when Brig. Gen. Jon Erickson, North Dakota Army Component commander, had a heart attack and collapsed in the middle of a military ceremony at Bismarck’s Raymond J. Bohn armory.

The soldiers helped save Erickson’s life by performing CPR and utilizing an automated external defibrillator (AED). Erickson later made a full recovery.

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Brig. Gen. Jon Erickson, North Dakota Army Component commander, presents The Woodrow W. Keeble “Je Suis Pret” (I am Ready) Award to Maj. Waylon Tomac, New Salem, North Dakota, Bismarck, Sept. 13, 2022.<br/><br/>
Submitted photo / Sgt. 1st Class Charles Highland

Schaffer, Keller and Gerhardt were presented their awards by Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann in a ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 11. Tomac, who was unable to make the earlier ceremony, was presented his award on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

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Their actions reflect great credit upon themselves, the North Dakota National Guard and the State of North Dakota, the North Dakota National Guard said in a statement.

The guard plans to provide a refresher CPR and AED training to make sure all members are prepared for any future medical emergencies.

The Keeble Award is only given to individuals who act to save a life, limb or property in a way that displays remarkable courage, fortitude and determination.

It was named in honor of Master Sgt. Woodrow “Woody” Wilson Keeble, a member of the guard who served in World War II and the Korean War. He was awarded this same award posthumously for his brave actions throughout his service.

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