You never think it will happen to you. Until one day it does and before you know it, helping hands are coming to your rescue. True heroes that are waiting in the wings to swoop in and save us in our deepest, darkest, life-threatening times of need. Only to be gone just as quickly without a moment for us to say thank you. Here is the story of my personal heroes who did just that…
It was the summer going into my senior year of high-school. My girlfriend and I were coming home from a short summer trip we had taken to house-sit for her sister. We were driving through the all too familiar skinny two-lane highways, engulfed by corn fields in small town Iowa when the unthinkable happened.
In the blink of an eye, we were hit, head-on going 60 miles an hour in a tiny Aspire (aka a golf cart) when everything went black. The first time I regained consciousness, I was in total shock. Everything around me was muted and muffled, I couldn’t feel a single thing throughout my entire body. I remember tasting iron from the blood that was flowing over my face and the fiery smell of explosives from the airbags. In the distance, I could hear a man’s voice but I couldn’t make out his exact words. All I could tell was that he was quoting scripture of some sort. I later learned that man was a bystander standing right outside the driver’s side door, reading us our last rites through the shattered windows. Then nothing. I came-to again but I couldn’t see anything still. My face felt cool from all the blood and I heard an extremely loud crunching, crackling noise that sounded as though the car was going to collapse into itself at any minute. They were trying to get me out with the jaws of life. I was in total shock and completely void of any emotion right up until the point when my brain turned against me and went into flight-mode. I was absolutely petrified. But then, in the faint background, I heard this muffled, soothing, calm, voice saying my name, telling me that everything was going to be ok…I just needed to stay super still and not move for a little longer and they were there to help. It was coming from behind me! I found extreme comfort from that voice in the back almost as though it had lifted this huge burden off me. I knew help was there and I could just breath. I stayed laser focused on that voice for as long as I could but I must have blacked out again. The next thing I remember was that very voice excitedly saying my name again as I opened my eyes in the back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Out of the corner of my eye I could see my friend and I knew we were getting the help we needed.
I don’t remember much about that day but what I do remember is vividly painted in my brain and has stuck with me my whole life. I remember the immediate comfort I received from that voice and knowing that I had helping hands surrounding me from those first responders that had arrived on the scene. They not only saved my life, they kept me calm and eased my fears through the scariest time of my life. More notably, they were there for my mom, dad and little brother during one of the most horrific times my family had ever been through. I cannot even imagine the thoughts that were going through their heads while driving the two hours to the scene of the accident to be by my side. That day could have turned from horrific to tragic for my family had it not been for those EMS team members responding so quickly and taking the right immediate actions to save me, while the voice calmed me down just by talking to me. Their actions and care have had incredibly positive ripple effects that altered not just mine, but so many other lives that day.
A couple of days after the accident the EMS team stopped by my hospital room to see how I was doing and check-in on my family. They continued to show care, compassion and put in extra hours when they didn’t have to and go above and beyond what any of us would have expected. At the time, I didn’t realize the extent of just how much that EMS team and the other first responders there that day changed my life, but I certainly do now.
To the complete stranger that I now lovingly refer to as “the voice”, and the rest of the EMS team that provided swift, exceptional care and comfort during the most horrific and terrifying moment of my life, THANK YOU! I’ll never be able to fully express my deepest and sincerest gratitude from myself and my family. I owe you my life and am committed to honoring your selfless actions and dedication with the work I continue to do to serve EMS and first responders across the country. To you and every member of the EMS community who swoops in to save the day and leaves before we get a chance to say it…THANK YOU!