Pfc. Shelly Daniels received a special senate citation today from Sen. David Myers, R-Ponca City, and Rep. Dale DeWitt, R-Braman, during a ceremony at the American Red Cross Cherokee Strip Chapter headquarters in her hometown of Blackwell.
In October, Daniels and two other members of her U.S. Army unit were on patrol in Baghdad when they were injured during a rocket attack on their Humvee. Daniels received wounds in her left shoulder and collarbone, suffered a collapsed lung and was temporarily paralyzed. She is now recovering at home in Blackwell.
The two Northern Oklahoma lawmakers presented Daniels and her family members with the citation, which featured the “American’s Creed” by William Tyler Page. The document also cited Daniels for “faithfully serving her country and upholding the American’s Creed with great personal sacrifice.”
Sen. Myers said that Daniels risked more than just her personal health and safety when she and her fellow soldiers were attacked by Iraqi resistance fighters.
“Private Daniels came very close to making the ultimate sacrifice during this terrible attack,” Myers said.
“We want to recognize Shelly for her brave actions and tell her how grateful we are for what she was willing to do for her country.”
Rep. DeWitt said the injuries that Daniels sustained in the attack on her unit may have been far worse if not for the actions of her two companions in the Humvee.
According to DeWitt, one of the soldiers used his body to shield Daniels from the dashboard of the vehicle before it crashed. Despite their injuries, both of the soldiers then worked to rescue and evacuate Daniels to a field hospital.
“Private Daniels’ fellow soldiers demonstrated incredible resolve and selflessness during a moment that could have cost them their lives,” De Witt stated.
“I’m sure Shelly would be the first to say that we shouldn’t forget their courage and the great concern they showed for one of their own.”
After her evacuation, Daniels was transported to a military hospital in Germany. She was then transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where she spent most of November recovering on a ventilator and regaining her ability to move.
Daniels was released and returned to Blackwell in time for Thanksgiving and continues to recuperate at her family’s home.
She was joined at Wednesday’s ceremony by her parents, Joe and Cathy Pendleton, and other friends and family members.
Sen. Myers said the citation he and Rep. DeWitt presented to Daniels has broad meaning for all of America’s soldiers.
“This citation recognizes Shelly, but I think she would agree that it also recognizes the sacrifices that all of our troops make around the world in the fight against terror,” Sen. Myers remarked.
“We wish her Godspeed in her recovery, and we hope all of our troops around the world remain safe during these dangerous and trying times.”