From Patient to Provider

June 19, 1991 is a date I will not forget. Thanks to a really good EMS crew, an ER physician who realized his hospital could not handle the injuries I suffered from a virtual head-on motorcycle crash, and a Flight For Life helicopter, I was transferred to Froedtert Hospital and survived.

From almost dead, I was able to continue on in life, get out of a wheelchair, go back to the volunteer fire department and eventually become a career firefighter/EMT.

I believe it was the Milwaukee (now Waukesha) helicopter that flew me. Unfortunately, although I remember the sun was shining when they loaded me at the old St. Catherine’s Hospital (near Carthage College) parking lot in Kenosha, I cannot remember the crew’s faces or who they were. I vaguely remember them wisecracking and making jokes with me – and me with them – about pinning “my wings” on my bare chest, but sometime during the flight I passed out and woke up only after we landed and they were moving me out of the helicopter. 

It was a long time ago, but some things still stand out in the archives of my memory. I had just finished my EMT Nationals the weekend before, and left work to donate blood at the Blood Center when the accident occurred.

Coincidentally, I had a Chinese fortune cookie at lunch that day with a fortune that read
"It is always darkest before dawn."

Not Discouraged

I was able to attend the FFL 10th anniversary in 1994 and one thing I remember was how there had been so many people that had been helped by FFL.

It was inspiring to see how their lives were changed, yet they were not discouraged.

It's tough to believe that it will be 23 years this June. As a firefighter/ EMT, I reflect back on how many lives I have been able to help over the years; years that I should not have had in my life. It is really humbling when you realize that you can make a difference simply because somebody else made a difference for you.  

You will always be in my heart.

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