Members of the Fire and Life Safety Vocational Education Program listen as the helicopter crew describes the care given to their injured passengers.
Troy Green takes the opportunity to thank the helicopter pilot and nurses.
Photos by Karen Diefendorf/Woodinville Weekly.
by Karen Diefendorf
Last Thursday was a special day for Troy Green: He had a chance for the first time to see the Airlift Northwest helicopter that saved his life last July. The rescue came following an automobile accident that could have left him dead or severely brain injured, if not for the speed with which he was taken to Harborview Hospital and the care he received on the way.
Green, a senior at Bothell High School, was unconscious during that trip. But when asked his feelings upon seeing the helicopter for the first time, he said, "The important thing is to thank the guys that saved my life."
Green's memory of the accident begins at 7:30 p.m. July 3. He was driving a Pontiac Sunbird along a winding road in Monroe. Because it was drizzling, he had his lights on and was going about 25-30 mph.
He remembers losing control of the car as it fishtailed into the oncoming lane, colliding with a Jeep Cherokee, which hit Green's car on the driver's side with such force that his seat belt was ripped out of the door and he was shoved into the passenger seat. He still bears the scars from the seat belt.
That's about all he does remember of the accident. His injuries included a collapsed lung, a ruptured diaphragm and a severe head injury. The passengers in the other car were not hurt.
An early diagnosis had a dark outlook for Green's future. "At first, they thought I'd die or be a vegetable for the rest of my life," he said.
And if it hadn't been for Airlift Northwest, he believes, that might have been the case. The time from the first call to the airlift service from his pickup at the Monroe airport to the arrival at Harborview was 10 minutes.
Green may never have had the chance for a thank-you last week if it had not been for an innovative program in the Northshore School District: the Fire and Life Safety Vocational Education Program. The class, designed to prepare high school students for careers as firefighters, meets daily for two hours. Instruction is provided by the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District and the Bothell Fire Department.
The Airlift Northwest helicopter landed at Evergreen Hospital for a "show-and-tell" session with the 18 Northshore students enrolled in the class. The event was a particularly happy one for Green. Besides getting the opportunity to express his gratitude to the crew of the helicopter, he had just recently been able to return to school and become a member of the class he'd signed up for last spring and had been unable to attend.
Members of the Fire and Life Safety Vocational Education Program include: Matt Smith, Becca Petrin, Marc Lange, Michell Flotron, Dave Horton, and Heather Miller, all from Woodinville High School; Brian Nielsen, Jackson Fuiten, Troy Green, and James Stiles from Inglemoor; Josh Schaeffer, Paul Macauley, Jason Carter, Mark Bell, Jake Rodriquez, Scott Bartlett, and Dillon Mayson of Bothell High School.