Fast-Acting Offutt Exchange Associate Aids Fellow Worker After Life-Threatening Scare

DALLAS – The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is known for its mission to serve troops worldwide. But, this spring, an Offutt Air Force Base Exchange associate made it his duty to serve a fellow associate after a life-threatening, on-the-job health scare.

18495716823_89c417ebc0While at her cubicle in the administration area of the Main Exchange, Linda McQueen, the Exchange general manager’s office assistant, suffered a blood clot in her sinus cavity, a rare condition called sinus thrombosis. The clot caused her to have a seizure, and as McQueen’s body stiffened, she hit her neck on the edge of her desk and collapsed.

McQueen fell face-first and landed under her desk with her head covered by a box. She began to shake. She couldn’t respond, but she could hear the commotion going on around her after she fell.

“I wasn’t sure what my body was doing,” McQueen said. “I heard a huge bang—it was like a bomb. Apparently, that was me.”

From his desk close by, Hal Ergin, Exchange Human Resources learning manager, heard other associates scream for help. Ergin sprang into action. As another associate dialed 911, Ergin swiftly pulled McQueen from under her desk. He turned her face forward, to aid her breathing, and cradled her head in his lap, offering words of comfort.

“I was shocked, but instinct kicked in,” Ergin said. “I held her hand until she responded. It was just a few minutes, but it felt like a year.”

Offutt’s emergency medical technicians responded to the 911 call, and Ergin provided vital details, which aided the team treating McQueen. She was taken to an Omaha hospital, where she recovered from brain swelling, head trauma and hemorrhaging. Doctors told her she was lucky that Ergin had helped her so quickly—McQueen’s condition is rare and typically causes fatal strokes. 

“I got a second chance,” McQueen said. “God was looking out for me that day. And so was Hal. He was my angel.”

Though she is still recovering, McQueen returned to the Exchange to work full time. 

Because of Ergin’s quick actions, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Sean Applegate, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor, presented him with his coin during a recent visit to Offutt. 

“I believe anyone in my shoes would have done the same thing,” Ergin said. “The important thing is that Linda is still with us and she’s OK.”

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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives through goods and services provided. Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors, responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force through the Chiefs of Staff.  To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at follow us on Twitter at


 Media Notes:

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Julie Mitchell, 214-312-3327 or [email protected].