Lindale Bronze Star Recipient ‘A True Hero’
By COSHANDRA DILLARD
LINDALE — Lindale resident Pvt. Kirk P. Rosenbalm is not only being lauded by his family and community members, but the United States Army has recognized the soldier by presenting him with the Bronze Star Medal.
He received the honor in April for “exceptionally meritorious achievement as a medic during operation Iraqi Freedom.” While conducting a dismounted patrol, an insurgent attacked with a grenade, severely injuring a fellow soldier in the gunner position. Rosenbalm immediately rendered aid to the soldier, who was bleeding profusely from the femoral artery. He packed the soldier’s wounds with several rolls of combat gauze, which stopped the bleeding until he reached an operating room. His mother, Michelle Howell, said Rosenbalm called a few days after the incident happened.
“He was very proud,” she said. “He was pretty excited that he saved a guy’s life. I was very proud of him but after that, reality hit. It scared me to death that he was in that situation. But it was meant to be for him to be in that place.”
The soldier, Spc. Andres Crespo, is in rehabilitation and doctors were able to save his leg, Mrs. Howell said. A surgeon noted that if Rosenbalm had not reacted the way he did Crespo would have died.
“His actions reflect great credit upon him, 25th infantry division, multinational division-north and the United States Army,” the award reads.
Rosenbalm graduated from Lindale High School early, missing his graduation, in order to leave for basic training on May 20, 2008.
Although Mrs. Howell said she remembers Rosenbalm playing “army soldier” and dressing in camouflage at nine years old, she was surprised when he enlisted in the Army.
Assistant Superintendent Jamie Holder was Rosenbalm’s junior high and high school principal while he attended Lindale Independent School District. He said he knew Rosenbalm would be a success because he was very respectful and driven. He said he was also a varsity football player who “thrived on Friday night for the competition.” “He is a very likable young man,” Holder said. “Once football was over with, he wanted to get on with his life. He was ready to serve his country. He graduated early for that sole purpose.”
He added, “He’s a true hero and I’m very proud of him. It’s a good feeling to see a young man like that who comes through your school system to serve our country and serve it well.”
Mrs. Howell said the skills learned as a medic has encouraged Rosenbalm to seek medicine as a profession.
“He just knows that it’s his calling,” she said. “He wants to do something in the medical field.”
Mrs. Howell said she is prayerful each night, awaiting the safe return of her oldest of three children. Rosenbalm is expected to return from his tour in Iraq in November and will be stationed at Fort Hood in Killeen.