Moose Lodge 2029 thanks first responders
By GARY EMMERT
You never expect it to happen, which is why they call it an accident. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 14,299 serious injury crashes in 2017. On November 7, 2017, Alex “Smitty” Smith of Copperas Cove never expected it would happen it him.
Thanks to Smith’s own calm demeanor, the actions of caring bystanders, and the professionalism of first responders, everyone involved was around to talk and even laugh about it on Saturday.
“I was at a light and the when light turned green, there were two cars in front of me. When I went to make the left (turn) there was some sand and oil on the road. My back tire slid all the way out from underneath me,” said Smith of his motorcycle accident.
While only traveling 5-10 mph, Smith suffered a broken leg from the momentum of the bike. “It was a stair-step (break) is what they called it, basically demolishing the top part of my tibia,” described Smith while pointing to his right leg just beneath the knee.
Smith is a long-time Moose Rider and member of Moose Lodge 2029 in Copperas Cove, an organization of men and women that support the charities of Mooseheart Child City and School. According to their Communications Coordinator, Tina Wilgeroth, the Lodge also supports local charities and have a shared concern for children in need and seniors and communities in which they live.
Immediately following the accident Smith called for help from bystanders. With them not knowing what they could do for him, Smith calmly began instructing them. “If you could kick the kickstand down, I would really appreciate it,” he said to a soldier who was helping him. Smith even had to convince an older, skeptical man that his leg was actually broken and to call 9-1-1. While that man called for an ambulance, Smith made three calls himself. One was to his wife to meet him at the hospital, the other to his buddy to come get his bike, and the last to his boss to inform him he would not be at work the following day.
Once the first responders were on site, their first inclination was to lift Smith off of the bike. Smith said he stopped them. “I’ve got an idea, if you have got a backboard, put it from my back seat to the gurney and we will just slide on it.” The medics agreed it was a good idea, and that is exactly what they did.
The demeanor and professionalism of the first responders meant a great deal to Smith, “We talked about the Moose Lodge and my grandkids. They took a bad situation, and made me feel comfortable.”
“I have been doing this for 14 or 15 years, (Smith) is the first person I have met after the fact,” said Erin Davis, who along with James Wallace, are assigned to Fort Hood Fire Department’s Station 3 and responded to the accident. “When I saw him walking around later, it is fun to see that.”
The group gathered on Saturday at the lodge on F.M. 116 to say thank-you to those first responders with what they called a “Tommy and Rosie” presentation, which are blue and pink stuffed animals.
“The purpose behind them is for when they come across a traumatic event and a child is involved, they can use them in hopes of diverting their attention away from everything that is happening around them,” said Smith.
“We want to show our appreciation for all you do in our community,” said Lodge 2029 President Debbie Pomato. “We thank you all and wish you continued success.” Along with a certificate of appreciation, they passed out multiple boxes of “Tommy and Rosie” stuffed animals for Davis and Wallace to take back to their station.
What started as a terrible moment for “Smitty”, turned out to be a demonstration of how total strangers can show compassion and caring for someone in need.