Army veteran leaps into action following parade tragedy
WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- As the Waukesha parade tragedy unfolded Sunday night and people ran for safety, some community members ran toward the danger in an effort to help their fellow neighbors in need.
"Minutes after the incident occurred, I responded to the scene," explained Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson. "What I saw out of the chaos and tragedy was heroes."
One of those heroes is Jen Zenisek, a U.S. Army veteran currently working as a chef at Chef Pam's Kitchen, located right along the parade route in downtown Waukesha. After the SUV sped through, she sped into action.
"I just wanted people safe," Zenisek said, speaking with CBS 58 a block from where the incident took place.
Having served as an automated logistical specialist in the U.S. Army for six years, Zenisek has CPR and field training.
"I just made sure that the bodies that I could get to had a pulse and were breathing," said Zenisek, describing the moments following the tragedy. "I moved to the next one, and by the time I got to the seventh, they were all kids."
After checking on and helping those injured in the street, Zenisek turned her attention to getting others still milling around to a safe location, encouraging people to take cover in Chef Pam's Kitchen until an "all clear" was given.
"It was just a mess," Zenisek said. "There were so many people in tears, in shock and they didn't know what to do. All I could do was keep people calm."
What Zenisek and many others witnessed Sunday night was traumatic, something she says she wouldn't wish on "her worst enemy." She also remains hopeful and confident that the Waukesha community will rally together to help those who need it most during this challenging time.
"We're like a big family down here. Everybody comes together and I'm so proud of everybody that did do their due diligence and could help," Zenisek said. "Everybody just rushed in to help and that's just what our community is all about."