Student honored with Soldier’s Medal

Second Lt. Nathan Lund was given the Soldier's Medal for his courageous rescue efforts.

Anna Ewart

When Nathan and Christine Lund heard the Interstate 35W bridge had collapsed during rush hour on Aug. 1, they raced to the scene, where fires burned and live wires sparked.

“It was surreal,” said Nathan Lund, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves.

On Thursday, Lund was honored for his efforts to aid collapse victims. He received the rarely awarded Soldier’s Medal, which is given to people in the Armed Forces who risk their lives to save others during incidents unrelated to enemy combat.

The husband-and-wife duo described the collapse site as chaos, but said they weren’t scared.

“You have so much adrenaline pumping,” he said. “I probably could’ve broken a leg and not noticed it.”

Nathan Lund, a University dental student, acknowledged he and his wife weren’t the only ones there. Eventually, police had to block off the area because so many others wanted to help.

“It speaks measures about ‘Minnesota nice,’ ” he said.

Christine Lund, a registered nurse, said many victims had injuries too severe for on-site treatment, although she brought plastic gloves and other medical equipment.

“A lot of it was just monitoring people,” she said.

On Aug. 1, the couple had been married for less than three months. They believe the catastrophe brought them closer.

Christine Lund said working together in that kind of situation made them see each other’s true characters.

They took some risks at the site, running underneath an unstable-looking piece of bridge, Nathan Lund said, adding that it was their moral duty, because of their Christian faith and medical training.

“I never thought of it as doing anything that special,” Nathan Lund said. “I just thought it was the right thing to do.”

School of Dentistry Dean Patrick Lloyd said the couple’s medical training helped them be effective that day, calling Nathan “someone who will risk life and limb.”

“We feel proud as a school because we educated someone like Nate,” Lloyd said.

Nathan Lund is currently attending the University on the Army’s Health Professions Scholarship Program.

Maj. Gen. Russell Czerw, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, attended the award ceremony.

He said Lund represented values of the U.S. Army: loyalty, honor and personal courage.

“He displayed heroism and bravery,” Czerw said.

Only three people have been awarded the Soldier’s Medal in the last three years. Notable recipients of the past include former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was honored for rescuing two comrades after a helicopter crash during his second tour in Vietnam.

Pentagon personnel who assisted co-workers following the attack on Sept. 11, also were honored.

As for the future, the Lund’s plan to move to North Carolina in June when Nathan graduates from dental school. There, he will attend an endodontic residency at Fort Bragg.