A Texas Air National Guard staff sergeant has been recognized by United Service Organizations, which named him one of the National Guardsman of the Year for 2023.
Staff Sgt. Cody J. Foster, who currently serves with the 136th Airlift Wing of the Texas Air National Guard in Fort Worth, was given this distinction for his heroic actions at the U.S.-Mexico border, where he saved the lives of a mother and her three-year-old child nearly a year ago, according to the USO.
The complete list of the 2023 USO Service Members of the Year can be found here.
Foster had been serving under the Operation Lone Star initiative on the evening of November 18, 2022, when he noticed a mother carrying her 3-year-old child across a mudflap on the Mexican side of the border. The duo eventually reached the American side of the Rio Grande, with the mother sustaining significant injuries in her efforts to reach the other side, crossing over with her feet bloodied, according to the USO.
Foster immediately went to assess the state of the mother and her child and found that the mother was not only injured but that both were “severely malnourished and dehydrated from their journey,” per the USO.
The staff sergeant began treating the pair using his Self-Aid Buddy Care training. He also worked with his commanding officers to provide the mother and child transportation to a medical facility for lifesaving treatment.
“They’re people in need,” said Foster to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“It’s just a part of who I am. Part of what needed to be done, and so we needed to help people,” he said.
The USO stated that Foster’s heroic actions not only merit this honor but also mark him as suitable for a leadership position within the Air National Guard.
“Cody embodied the standards of the Air Force Core Values, but foremost among these shown was his ‘Service Before Self.’ He was fully aware of the risks that he faced to his own life and chose to accept that risk in an effort to save the lives of others,” said the USO in its announcement.
“As a direct result of his heroic actions, Cody prevented what could have resulted in a tragic loss of life,” the USO said.
Foster said he is not the only one performing heroic actions.
“We have incredible people doing incredible things all the time,” said Foster, per the Star-Telegram. “And I think that’s the big takeaway is yes, I’m receiving this award, but we have such incredible people doing stuff every day.”
Some, however, believe that the humanitarian crisis created by the border essentially being open not only presents danger for those who attempt to cross but also for people already present in the United States. The Texas Senate recently reconvened to pass multiple bills that would enhance border security measures, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.