Cadet saves step-father’s life


A second ACE Basin Composite Squadron cadet has received a Life-saving Award — a very rare occurrence — but a testimony to the high-quality emergency services training taking place in Civil Air Patrol in Walterboro.

The members of the ACE Basin Composite Squadron gathered virtually at the April promotion night to honor the quick-thinking actions of Cadet Airman Donald McCall, whose choices led to the preservation of life and limb for his step-father in early April after a construction accident.

Cadet McCall was present in March when Lt. Rachel Idol, a Civil Air Patrol member and also an EMT for the Berkeley County, taught the Stop the Bleed course during a weekly CAP meeting. During this meeting, the hands-on training Cadet McCall received was firmly cemented in his mind and was re-called effectively on Sunday April 5 when his step-father sliced through his arcuate artery during a remodeling project.

Cadet McCall’s mother, Christin Lattimore, explained: “That day my husband was working on the bathroom and he was sawing into wood that goes under the new shower for the drain using a circular saw. As he was cutting under the new shower for the drain, the saw jumped and when it did, it ripped into the top and side of his foot.”

She said, “It was an awful cut and was extremely deep. Donald knew just what to do. He cleared a space and got to work immediately.

“My husband felt like he was about to pass out and Donald cleared a spot for him to lay down and then he continued to work on his step dad.”

Cadet McCall ordered his siblings to provide items he needed to prepare a tourniquet and materials for packing the wound. At the emergency room, the Lattimores learned that Donald’s step-dad had not chopped the tendon or bones with the saw, but he completely severed his arcuate artery, which is what led to the profuse bleeding.

Cadet McCall’s mom said, “While the blood flow wasn’t fully stopped, Donald did slow it a good bit so we could get [my husband] to the hospital. If not for Donald today, I would have been in full panic mode. He assured us that he had things under control and he knew what to do, and he did!”

Cadet McCall’s step father is home, sore and bandaged. However, without Cadet McCall’s Stop the Bleed training, the outcome could have been much different — with one family member bleeding profusely and the other adult in the house in panic mode.

His ability to slow the bleeding, keep the family calm, and secure the area may well have prevented further injury, as well as loss of life or the loss of limb for his step-father.

The family has already agreed “that we are now setting a plan and how to react when something like this happens in the future —t hat was terrifying!”

Had Cadet McCall not completed this emergency services training, which he received in Civil Air Patrol at the ACE Basin Composite Squadron, the outcome of the remodeling project could have been much different. For his calming and heroic actions on Sunday April 5, Cadet McCall was recommended to receive the Lifesaving Award Certificate with Silver Star, and received this commendation from the South Carolina Wing Commander during the April promotion night.

Although the ACE Basin Composite Squadron is currently meeting virtually, the emergency services training and preparation for community service continues.

Those who are interested in joining the unit may email Capt. Rachael J. Mercer, unit commander, for information about how to visit the unit virtually. Outside of COVID-19 quarantine and social distancing, the Ace Basin Composite Squadron meets on Tuesday nights 6-8 p.m. at the Lowcountry Aviation Hangar (637 Aviation Way) on the campus of the Lowcountry Regional Airport.

For more information about the ACE Basin Composite Squadron, contact Capt. Rachael J. Mercer at