“Are you hurt ma’am?” the officer asked.
“No, no — just this seatbelt rash –” she answered shakily. “Just that — I’m fine.”
“So how’d you end up here? How on earth did your car go across that median and into this tree?”
The officer looked confused as he surveyed the tire tracks and kicked up dirt that didn’t match any logical path.
“I blacked out, I don’t –”
“She passed out back there,” a man pointed down the road, “and kept going in the wrong lane. Hit another car back there and almost hit me — then she just went right down that bank over there, came across this median and kept going down again till she hit the tree.”
We replayed it in our minds and looked at the smoking car. How she ended up with only a seatbelt rash was God’s grace. I prayed her 29-week old baby was still safe and sound in her little belly.
More sirens sounded in the distance; the initial wave of responders had made it to the first car she’d hit and a second group was headed to help her. Policemen and firefighters and EMTs, soon they all flocked the scene and got to work.
“You don’t need me for anything, do you?” I asked the policeman next to me.
“Nope, we’re good,” he replied. “Thanks.”
I nodded and walked back down the hill with Levi on my hip. We ate our breakfast and watched out the window as everyone worked and cared for the young woman.
Some were talking with her, checking to make sure she wasn’t bleeding anywhere. They helped her up and brought her to the ambulance.
Others walked around the car and looked it over, deciding how to handle it and which parts might be dangerous. Scraps from the bumper and front were strewn yards ahead; a couple men went around to pick them up.
The mulch and tulip leaves she’d plowed over were swept back into the median, and the road was cleaned right up. Soon cars and trucks began to leave and one group of firemen was left waiting for the tow truck to arrive.
They hooked up the car and the tow began to pull — scraping the grass in two clean strips straight up the hill. They picked up the other bumper fragments and made some paint marks on the tree and grass. With a few finishing tasks, they all loaded themselves up and off they went.
As I watched the whole process I couldn’t help but be in awe. From the time she hit the tree to the moment the last responder vehicle left was no more than an hour. It amazes me how quickly and efficiently everyone works — and they all work together, however many of them, without stepping on each other’s toes. I’m sure there are moments they get in each other’s way, but think about it; they come on scene and work.
They make sure everyone is cared for first. People are the priority; and once they’re covered, they jump head first into whatever the problem is. They see it through to completion and make sure everything is accounted for.
If you know someone or multiple someones who serve in these ways — will you thank them? Thank them for their dedication, their resolve to do their best, their sacrifice. They do the dirty, painful, hard work that often goes unnoticed but undoubtedly makes our lives so much easier.
And if you’re reading this as one who has served, thank you.