It was a dark and stormy night.
Actually, it wasn't storming anymore; the heavy storms of the previous day were gone. And it wasn't dark yet. It was a warm evening after a hot day, and a group of kids were swimming in a creek to cool off. But the creek's current was too strong to be safe, and two of them were washed away, over a dam that used to run the old mill on the banks nearby.
Members of the local EMS Emergency Response Team rushed to help. They did all of the things that they had been trained to do. Yet somehow, in the middle of it all, something went terribly wrong.
Two rescue boats capsized in the churning waters, and four men went into the creek. They were caught up in the undertow caused by the water falling over the dam, and by the time they made it out of the water, one of them had been under for over 5 minutes.
He was pulseless and apneic when they pulled him out, but they managed to get pulses back and got him to the hospital.
Where he died 3 days later.
Joe Snow was 32 years old. He left behind two young sons.
Now I can tell you for fact that Joe wasn't thinking about his own safety at any point of that failed rescue. He was focused on the two boys that had gone over the dam. They were the important ones. He was there for them, because that was what he did. He wasn't there because it was his job. He was there because that was what he did. He helped people. And they needed his help.
I've been there. I've realized after the fact that while I was helping someone, I could have died. I was standing 3 feet from a burning car with a nearly dead baby in my arms, because that was what I did. And it was worth the risk.
But I didn't pay the ultimate price. My family didn't pay the price. Joe did.
I'll be honest with you; I didn't even know Joe Snow. I only read about his life, and death, on the internet, after talking to a friend of mine that used to work with him.
But I've been a part of the EMS family. I may have traded in my jumpsuit and boots for scrubs and Crocs, but I still know what kind of a person risks their life to try and save someone else's. I've worked with those people. I still do.
So when my friend asked me to mention Joe on my blog, I had no problem doing so.
His boys are 7 and 9 now. And they don't have their Daddy anymore. For the last two years, his EMS buddies have held a benefit Bass Tournament with proceeds going to the boys.
I would very much like to help, too. I get 500 hits a day on this blog. If everyone donated only $5.00, we could raise $2500.00. A little more, and we could raise a little more. Spread the word, and we could actually make a difference. 97.1% will go to Matthew and Michael. PayPal charges 2.9% and I don't have any "administrative costs".
Sometimes a story just touches you, and you want to be a part of it. Please be a part of this.
UPDATE: MonkeySister found this link to the local EMS Department that sponsors the event. Thanks, Sis!
TOTAL: 1100.00 as of 4/25/08
Most of the articles that I read were subscription only from the local paper where this happened, so I can't link them. But here's a couple of articles about the storms that hit in May of 2006 and another of the multiple rescuers that were involved that night.