Derrick Van Orden, the Republican congressional candidate for Wisconsin’s 3rd congressional district and a Navy SEAL veteran, recently rescued a 77-year-old woman from choking during dinner, saving her life.
Van Orden said he was attending an event at a hotel when he saw a friend — a plastic surgeon — move across the room with great urgency. It was a look he recognized from his time in combat, Van Orden said during an interview with Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Saturday.
“I realized that something required attention in the next room, and so I followed him in there,” Van Orden told show host Breitbart News Washington Political Editor Matthew Boyle.
“There was Betty, sitting there at a table. She was there having a birthday dinner there with one of her friends, and she was unconscious, sitting straight up and her face was as blue as a blueberry,” he said.
He recalled what he did next:
I was able to pick her up and lay her on the ground and clear her airway and I had to do ten rescue breaths to get her kick-started again. … I was a combat medic for a long time in the SEAL teams, and you try to talk to a person [because] even if they’re unconscious they can still hear you. And I was talking to her, saying, “Betty, Betty, come back to us, Betty.” And after about the tenth rescue breath, her eyes came back into her head, you know, you can see the life return back to somebody — it’s actually an incredibly beautiful thing. And she coughed a little bit and sputtered, and then I said, “Betty how are you doing?” And she looked at me and said, “I am so thankful to be here.” and I looked at her and said, “Betty, you know what, we’re so thankful that you’re here with us right now.”
Van Orden said he and his wife were able to meet up with her two days later for breakfast, and he had the opportunity to learn all about her.
The woman, Betty Kabara, and her late husband have worked their entire lives to help others.
“This woman and her late husband are responsible for building essentially an entire wing at the Gunderson Health Center in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. And through their altruism, they had helped thousands and thousands and thousands of people throughout their lives,” he said.
“To be able to help somebody when they are truly in need, I mean, to me, you know honestly, we both got an incredible gift that day. I mean, she was able to return to her family, and I was able to meet one of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever met in my life,” he said.
“This is how tough this lady is — she had been unconscious and breathless for three minutes plus, and her pulse was just barely palpable. Two days later, she drove four hours home. She is just an amazing woman,” he added,
Van Orden said his five tours in combat helped him kick into action.
“I am used to operating in stressful conditions and being able to keep my wits about me,” he said.
“All of those experiences shape you to be able to, one, identify and understand there’s a problem that needs to be solved, but also to maintain a cool head and perform the functions that are required in order to solve the problem, and that’s going to serve very well in Congress,” he said.
Now, at least one voter can attest to his calm under fire.
“I’m wishing with all of my heart that he makes it,” Kabara told News 8 Now. She and Van Orden plan to regularly have breakfast together.
Van Orden is running against incumbent Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), in a district that went for President Donald Trump in 2016 by at least four percentage points. He is optimistic that the seat can be flipped.
He said Kind has been serving in Congress for 24 years, chiefly as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “influencer peddler.”
“He’s been in office for 24 years [but] nobody knows his name because he’s a backbencher, but what he is is he is an influencer peddler,” he said.
“He is Nancy Pelosi’s chief whip on the Ways and Means Committee. That means he gets people to vote for what she wants or to not vote for things she doesn’t want to take place, and that’s tax and trade law. It’s the most powerful committee in Congress,” he said.
“He sits on the backbench on purpose, but he’s been there so long that everybody owes him so many favors,” he said. The “linchpin to Nancy Pelosi’s power is this guy named Ron Kind,” he said.
Van Orden said those wishing to learn more about him can go to www.vanordenforcongress.com.