Tasman Rescue Helicopter Fundraising
The evening of December 8th 2013 drew to a close in much the same way as any other summer evening, giving no premonition of how close tragedy was to come. We had a small task to do before dark so the little girls were told to get their bikes and Judah wanted to take a ball to kick around whilst we did our work. I started the ute and got the ball off Judah then assumed he’d gone to get his bike also. Watching the girls in the mirror to ensure they remained out of the way I started to reverse slowly backwards and after 1-2m I felt resistance. Startled I quickly went forward again, opened the door and looked out, could see nothing, so quickly got out, with Bron jumping out of the passenger door as well. Coming around the back of the ute was Judah trying to walk but staggering and about to fall. I caught him in my arms and laid him gently on the grass, my mind refusing to believe what had happened. He was deathly white and unable to speak, his facial features were bulging out and he had a graze mixed with dust over his face as though it had been pushed into the ground. There is something in moments like this where you feel someone else takes over your body and does what needs to be done for you. I got on the phone and told the operator what had happened, she gave instructions on looking after Judah, then sent me out on the road to guide the emergency services.
Leaving Bron to look after him, I ran for the road and had only been there for 2-3 minutes when the ambulance came screaming along followed by several police cars and a doctor. They worked on Judah for about 10 minutes on the ground and another 20 in the ambulance, and then decided to call the rescue helicopter. The medic said ‘it’s 60 minutes by road, and only 8 minutes by air, time is of the essence’ The helicopter landed in the yard next door and Judah was quickly bundled into the back of it and 8 minutes later we were at the hospital door.
Judah spent the night in intensive care where they monitored his heart and internal organs and another in the general ward and was let out on the 10th of Dec with nothing worse than severe bruising. He was face down and the wheel went up on his right leg, over his lower back and up as far as his left shoulder, then forward off again the same way. The doctors were intrigued and described it as a miracle and Bron and I have had lots of waking moments over it ever since, with anxiety every time I put the car in reverse.
The doctor’s apt description of a miracle was certainly true and lots and lots of prayers went up asking for the same. Whilst all the emergency services did a brilliant job that evening, the helicopter service stands out most clearly and this prompted a fundraising suggestion for it from the Plymouth Brethren churches of Nelson and Motueka. The appeal ran for 3 weeks and young and old participated to donate $18,520 which was handed over in a ceremony at the school trade day.
The helicopter flew in to pick up the cheque and as a community we thanked them for the service they do, being reminded of the story of the Samaritan, who having found a stranger half dead, he supplied what was needed to bring him back to full life again. Everyone was very thankful that whole incident ended so well, when it so nearly ended in tragedy with the final donation figure making a fitting end to it.