"I looked at him and said, 'I have to do this,"' Maldonado recalled.
From the auditorium, she and some other volunteers ran to the Soldier and
Center, where the
shootings took place. When she walked
in, she saw blood
people on her left, she soon realized, were already dead. "I asked someone to get me some gloves. I took off my boots and rolled up my pants and started looking at the victims," Maldonado said.
"A soldier had his hand up, and he was the first one I went to," she said. "He was still alive. I asked someone to give me their shirt; I rolled it up and used it to help stop the bleeding." Maldonado looked at the soldier and said, "You are not
going to die on me. You are a soldier. The ambulance is out here and they will take you to the hospital."
Maldonado helped assess the condition of the victims. She also directed some fellow nurses and others who were at the scene.
"I was asking people if they knew how to do CPR, take the pulses of those wounded and put pressure to help stop the bleeding." When the ambulances arrived, Maldonado informed
the paramedics who needed to be taken first and who needed help. She stayed until all the wounded had been taken to the hospital. Maldonado, who has two decades of experience as
a combat nurse, said that being a nurse and a veteran helped her during the incident.
After making a statement to the FBI, Maldonado re-joined her husband. They returned to San Antonio that night. When they got home, she wept. “I was there for a rea-son,” she said.
About a week later, Maldonado went back to Fort Hood for the memorial service. “The people I worked with that day recognized me,” she said. “They came over and said that they were looking for me. They said I must have been an angel because they could not ﬁnd me.”
In addition to her 20 years as an Army nurse, Mal-donado has 22 years of civil service—four at Brooke Army Medical Center and 18 at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. She currently works in Gastroenterology Service.
- Genevieve T. Joson (VAnguard Magazine Winter 2010)