The hardest day of my life as a firefighter...

A CRASH ON INTERSTATE 40 CLAIMS THE LIFE OF A JACKSON MAN AND TIES UP TRAFFIC EARLY THIS AFTERNOON.
ACCORDING TO THE TENNESSEE HIGHWAY PATROL. 77-YEAR-OLD JERRY EWELL DIED AFTER HIS TRUCK FLIPPED AND WAS HIT BY AN 18-WHEELER.
TROOPERS SAY EWELL WAS HEADED WEST ON I-40 WHEN HE LOST CONTROL OF HIS TRUCK AND WENT INTO THE MEDIAN.INVESTIGATORS SAY HE THEN ROLLED INTO THE EAST BOUND LANES AND IN FRONT OF THE SEMI....


..This was the news report to a wreck that i responded to today around noon,as i pulled up on the scene i noticed the truck looked farmiliar.as i was walking up i noticed that it was Mr.Ewell's truck,a man who ive known since i was born and i farm for his son who is my dads best freind.His family is basically part of my family and theyve always been a major part of my life.As i looked at him under the blanket the state trooper had put on him i realized i made a mistake of looking at him bc half of his body was gone and in the grass beside the interstate.I was on the rescue unit and i cut his truck apart to get him free.After that i looked thru all the debris to collect a few things that i knew the family would want,part of which had blood on it.Then the trooper had me go tell his son what happened which was the hardest things ive ever had to do in my entire life.Shortly after i had to go to the ER w/ the family and my family who was there for them which was also hard bc i was still in my fire clothes which still had blood on it.The funeral is saturday.This has been the hardest day of my life,never thought id have to deal w/ somthin like this bc ive dealt w/ many wrecks just like this but its never been someone this close to me,i was wrong and i dont know what to do now,it took ab 9 hrs for all of this to hit me bc i just kept thinking to myself that this is my job and its wat i do,but it hit me and it hit me hard tonite,and i havnt found a way to deal w/ this...any suggestions?
RIP MR. EWELL 1931-2008

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Comment by Daniel D. Reed on April 2, 2008 at 1:14am
Believe it or not you face a similar problem we all do that worked in fire fighting or EMS when you worked in the place you grew up in, or even have only lived for a short period for that matter. You are destined to come across an acquaintance, a friend, or God forbid even a family member. I grew up In a lovely place in California where you knew everyone especially from school. Arroyo Grande. It only took pulling the bodies of two wonderful friends from vehicle accidents that had claimed there lives to make me realize I would have to move if I was going to continue in fire fighting. So I did. To Albany, New York. So after living there for a year and pulling the body of a wonderful friend out of a mangled car I realized no matter where I go or what I do I cannot get away from the problem. And then one morning I realized that I actually had gained a wonderful gift from experiencing these emotions. Compassion. I patted my self on the back and congratulated my sellf for having the compassion enough to care enough about that person I had lost, and the compassion enough to care about the hurt thier family was going to go through. And I know that they appreciated the compassion I showed them too. So Pat yourself on the back my brother and feel proud that you have a wonderful gift. Prayers and peace to you.
Comment by Susie on March 28, 2008 at 7:15pm
I too wanted to send my thoughts and prayers to you. I know you will never forget but it will get easier as time goes by. Keep close to your family and friends you will need them through it all.

Susie
Comment by "Timmay" on March 28, 2008 at 3:27pm
Caleb;

I have been in those shoes you are ibn right now. I extricated a good friend I had just seen a few ours before. He was deceased at seen. It was hard to do but I did it like you said, It was my job. I did go through a debriefing a few days later because I could not get it out of my mind. Ask you supervisor about CISM (critical incident stress management). Our county has an oncall team to handle situations like this. If this does not exist your dept's workers comp should cover any type of counseling needed. Don't keep this to yourself. It will eat you alive. Talk to someone whether like Kristy suggested. You have started the process by coming on here and asking questions. Living in small communities you will come upon an accident that involves a freind or a loved one. If you have anymore question just ask. Hang in there things will get better as time goes by.

Tim
Comment by Jamieson Benoit on March 27, 2008 at 10:39pm
Caleb,
I cant even begin to imagine what you are going through. I hope everything gets better for you. My condolences to you and the family.

Jamieson
Comment by Kristy Oxholm on March 27, 2008 at 4:39pm
Caleb -

Hang in there. You may have some rough days and weeks ahead of you. I've been to some fatalities of friends, but none that sound quite as difficult as the one you are going through. One thing that I found that helped was getting a picture of the person at a happier time. By looking at that, you may be able to replace the picture in your head with the photo. Talk to someone if things don't get better. It may be another firefighter, a clergy member or someone in the mental health field. Do you have an Employee Assistance program you can tap into? Sometimes even volunteers can use a system that your city or town has in place. Remember, you have friends here and things will get better!

Kristy
Comment by FireCat on March 27, 2008 at 3:10am
Caleb,
I wish I had the power to make all of your pain go away. I can't imagine what you must be going through. I know that this isn't going to give you any comfort right now. It is going to take time for you to get over this you will never forget but in time it wil get a little easier. I lost my uncle 20 years ago and there are still times when I still cry because something I see or hear brings up all the hurt again. You can talk to one of the chaplins. You and the family are in my prayers. I'm here to talk to if you want. If just need to vent because there will be an angry stage you will go through. I really wish I could take away the last vision that you saw of your loved one If you need to talk I'm here for you! May god be will you and the families!

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