Iowa State Army ROTC cadet saves life


An Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadet from the Cyclone Battalion credits her quick reaction in a life-threatening situation to skills learned in ROTC.

A recipient of a three-year Army ROTC scholarship, cadet Nicole Donato, 19, wanted to honor her grandfather, an Air Force veteran, by joining the military. However, she wanted to go to college first.

She learned that she could do both by enrolling in Iowa State University’s Army ROTC program, practicing skills that would later save a life.

While returning from a trip to her hometown of Champlin, Minn., in October, she was in a high- speed accident when the rear left tire of the vehicle in front of her fell off and flew up and hit her windshield. She subsequently collided with that vehicle and both went off the road. She was dazed and received a severe concussion with minor lacerations and bruising.

When she regained her senses, she checked on the other driver and noticed he was unconscious and not breathing. She then extracted the driver from the vehicle and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. When the first officer arrived, he took over CPR. The attending emergency medical technician told her she saved the man’s life.

“I didn’t realize what I was doing,” the sophomore kinesiology major recalled. “We get so much training in ROTC, that I automatically knew what to do. What we learn is real-life skills.”
Donato said she plans to work in the Army’s medical field after she commissions as a second lieutenant.

Lt. Col. Richard Smith, Donato’s professor of military science describes her as “without a doubt, one of the top two cadets in a very strong military science II class of 50 cadets. She takes charge and leads by example with enthusiasm and dedication unmatched by her peers. This cadet has unlimited potential to serve as an officer in the U.S. Army.”

He said that she gets to put her leadership skills to use as a member of her residence hall government. In addition, she volunteers with Students Helping Our Peers, a group that helps ISU students in need of food assistance. She also belongs to the Pre-Physical Therapy Club, the Nutrition Club, and the Kinesiology Club, among others.

The 2011 graduate of Champlin High School is the daughter of Tony and Elaine Donato, Champlin, Minn.