Portrait of a Miracle Worker

Connecting with—and showing gratitude toward—the men who perform miracles for those in dire situations every day.

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I’m not sure how to caption this photo: a picture of gratitude, an answered prayer or a portrait of a miracle worker.

I’ve been writing for several weeks about the plane crash that my brother-in-law Mike somehow miraculously survived. He’s been in a burn unit ever since, but not long ago my sister and her three daughters visited the men who saved him, the fire department and the EMTs. What a joyous occasion that was.

First of all, the men were thrilled to find out how he was doing. “People don’t usually come and tell us what’s happened to the ones we’ve rescued,” they said. “They don’t come and thank us.”

They also told my sister how amazing it was that Mike survived, adding to our sense of gratitude. If they hadn’t been where they were, if they had been on the other side of the airport, if they had been just 30 seconds later...so many ifs can add up to a miracle.

There were hugs and tears all around. These guys are heroes. The guy in the photo is the one who used the Jaws of Life to get to Mike. With him are the three girls who will know more of their dad because of his quick action.

Recovery for Mike is still a long haul and our sorrow for those colleagues of his who didn’t survive is deep, but we move forward with a sense of wonder.

Here was a moment when all the “if onlys” worked together to save a life. For that I say: “Thanks, thanks, thanks!”

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