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Selena and Glen Schmidt and their sons Trevin and Justin during a visit to Glen’s “workplace” in an Air Train Airways cockpit.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Selena Schmidt
My name is Glen Schmidt and I am Selena Schmidt's husband. Sunday, April 10, 2005, was my first day back home in McKinney, TX, from a business trip. I am an airline pilot for Air Tran Airways and I travel a lot, and I was so ready to be home.
I was just relaxing from being out on the road. Selena was on shift at MedStar. At around 6 P.M., my parents, Bruce and Janice, called to invite me for dinner with them at their house in Frisco, about 15 minutes from our house. My father is also a pilot for Air Tran Airways and the fact we were both home at the same time and able to have a cookout was great.
It was around 6:45 when my wife and I were talking to each other on our cell phones. She was telling me all about her day and that they had been busy all day. My wife and I have hectic schedules and even though it is hard being away from each other, we love our jobs and have a tremendous passion and mutual respect for what we both chose to do as professions in life.
While still on the phone with Selena, I was driving to my parents' house when a call about a motor vehicle accident came over the radio. Shortly after that, my wife stated, "Honey, I have to run, we are rolling up on an MVA and I will call you later." I told her I loved her and then put my phone down in the cup holder in the car, not realizing that I had it on vibrate mode.
My parents' house is only 15 minutes away, and as I rolled up in front of their house and turned off the car, I heard my phone vibrating in the cup holder. I answered and it was my mother asking me what in the world was going on and where was I? I told her I was out front and asked what she was talking about. My mother said, "Selena called screaming into the phone that she had been in an accident and she was "not going to make it." "
My heart left my body. I immediately hung up with my mother and checked my phone. My wife had called me five times and I never heard the phone due to it being on vibrate. I was so mad at myself that my wife was trying to reach me and I was unavailable. My mind was going a million miles a minute and I was thinking what if it was too late and the worst of the worst had happened and I never got to speak to my wife again. It would have devastated me.
I was getting ready to call Selena's dispatch when the phone rang and it was Kevin, the paramedic working on her. I could hear the panic and stress in his voice and he stated, "Hey, this is Kevin. Selena has been in an accident. We are enroute to Harris, meet us there, she'll be fine." I could hear the tone of his voice and I knew that things were not good. I was very scared.
My parents ran outside to grab me and we all jumped in the car. The drive to the hospital seemed like an eternity and the not knowing was the worst part of the drive. As an airline pilot, I am trained to deal with every emergency you could possibly imagine, but nothing can prepare you for the panicked phone call of a loved one saying they are not going to make it. We arrived at the hospital almost an hour later. When I walked into the emergency room, two fire chiefs from the City of Fort Worth approached to talk to me about the accident. Luckily, no one had been killed and although there were some very serious injuries, with Selena receiving the brunt of them, it looked like everyone was going to be OK. My wife was getting a CT scan during this time. There were firefighters, police and MedStar people everywhere; it looked like a war zone triage. The MedStar supervisors, Mike Collins and Thomas Munos, were there also speaking with me and going over some of the details they were aware of at the accident.
It was truly amazing how the EMS staff took care of us and made us feel as comfortable as possible while going through this very traumatic event. I want to thank the all of the MedStar supervisors and staff, the firefighters and all of the hospital staff for doing an outstanding job.
My wife was brought into a room about 15 minutes later and I walked into the room to see her. She was holding her stomach, her knees were bent, her lips were trembling, she was sweating profusely and her eyes were going all over the place like she was looking for a safety zone to run to. I whispered for her to relax and look at me. She looked into my eyes and then she started to cry and repeated, "The firefighter, the firefighter, he's dead, he went flying." I whispered to her that he was alive, that no one died, and that I wanted her to calm down. She stopped crying, and eventually closed her eyes. My wife was in the hospital for seven days. She is expected to be out of work for six months and her injuries will affect her for the rest of her life. She will never truly be 100% again.
Although we do not understand why this had to happen to us, I truly believe that there is a reason and hopefully some good will come out of this very tragic and unfortunate event. I know that this incident was unintentional, but accidents like this change people's lives forever. Factors that day were the rain and recklessness of the driver. I hope that in some way we can get through to people that they need to slow down. Maybe they need to visit a hospital and see first-hand what MVAs do to people.
If we get even one person to learn from this, then my wife and I will be happy. No one is invincible and life is a precious and priceless gift that can never be replaced. God bless everyone involved in EMS and the law enforcement realm. There is no price for the service you provide daily to the citizens of your communities, but you can all rest assured that the love that you have for your jobs and the passion you have for helping others is a great example of why I am proud to be an American and an EMS husband.