Shining moments: Timely guidance

When a gunman burst into the hospital annex at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Wash., on June 20, Chuck Andrews, a major in the Air Force, was forced to make split-second, life-or-death decisions.

Brother Andrews, a counselor in the Young Men presidency of the Spokane 13th Ward, Spokane Washington North Stake, is a clinical social worker and chief of the Fairchild mental health clinic.He had just taken a patient into his office when a discharged airman entered the building and opened fire with an assault rifle.

Hearing a loud bang, Brother Andrews at first thought someone had dropped something. But with the same thought, he wondered if it might be gunfire. He opened the door and saw the gunman in the hall just as another shot was fired. For a split second, Brother Andrews considered charging him. But the gunman turned quickly when he heard the door open and Brother Andrews had to jump back inside his office.

Brother Andrews slammed the door shut and locked it and told his patient to keep clear. As the gunman pounded at the door, Brother Andrews called the security police and for medical life-support assistance.

Then, aware that it had been some moments since he heard any shots in the hall, he opened the door to look. He did a triage of the victims, discovering that the doctors in the two offices ahead of his had both been shot and killed. He cared for a woman who was shot in the arm and a man who was shot in the leg.

Not knowing where the gunman was, Brother Andrews moved quickly but cautiously. When emergency medical teams arrived, he directed them to those who were shot.

After a military policeman killed the gunman in the parking lot, ending the immediate crisis, Brother Andrews continued to help where he could. The task was made more difficult because the doctors, who were among the four killed, were his good friends. He went immediately to the hospital emergency room and helped care for the other 23 wounded people. He also assisted the FBI and police agencies with their investigations.

His most difficult task was comforting the doctors' wives, who were both non-LDS. He accompanied them when they went to view their husbands the following day and explained to them the eternal nature of God's plan.

Brother Andrews later said that he felt the Spirit guided him as he made quick decisions in the service of others, even with his own life at risk.

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