Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hydrate or Die! Mountain Rescue - El Paso, Texas

BEFORE today I had hiked up to the North Franklin Mountain Peak no less than a hundred times. Always a piece of cake. September 19th was different though. I didn't make it this time.  I had plenty of water, I was rested up and ready to go.  It was a cool and windy day and I was hiking with Tony, a 70 year old man so I wasn't moving too quickly.  It was a perfect day.  Then, about 45 minutes into the hike I became dizzy.  I stopped and took a drink of water.  Tony was only going as far as Mundy's Gap.  That's where I planned  to take a longer break and assess the dizziness situation.  But, 5 minutes later I was on the ground curled up in the fetal position, helpless without the strength to stand on my own two legs.  I had no idea what was going on or how long it would last.

AS I laid on the rocky trail a number of other hikers stopped to inquire about my health.  God bless them but there was nothing they could do.  Someone finally got a hold of the Park Ranger and put the wheels of rescue in motion - because I wasn't going anywhere on my own.  As time passed, more hikers came by and offered help but what could they do?  Nobody knew anything and in these days of law suits no one wants to be accused of being responsible for the death of another. Then came along one, Jeffrey Landry, Staff Sargent, US Army.  I didn't know Jeffrey.  In fact, I wouldn't know him if I saw him right now. The sunlight had become so painful to my eyes I had to keep them shut.  All I could do was listen.  I was dying on the trail.  Jeffrey took charge immediately.  He sat me up, removed the denim shirt I was wearing, loosened my belt, and began pouring cool water down my neck.  At that point, I started breathing, taking deep breaths.  Jeffrey gave me some grapes, a double fudge cookie, and a fruit drink.  Lots of sugar.  I washed all that down with some water. 

MENWHILE, EMT's from the El Paso Fire Department were on the way being transported by a fellow named Jacob Barton, a Texas State Park Policeman.  We were told to meet them at Mundy's Gap, which was about a 150 yards up the trail from where I was. Staff Sargent Landry, was a God send.  The man, though I never saw his face, was absolute and determined to get me there.  I could hear other hikers standing around in awe of Jeffrey's leadership.  He organized a party of bystanders to carry me, a 6 foot 185 pound bag of sand, the distance to Mundy's Gap.  Not all together, but one at a time, 15 steps each.  They kept taking turns until I was finally set down on the bench at Mundy's Gap, where I promptly puked my guts out.

NEVER before in my 52 years have I witnessed such leadership, character, and determination from one man as I did on this day.  For the hour or two that I was under Jeffrey's wing I could hear him talking to some kids.  He was telling them what was going on and what he was doing and why.  Later I found out that one of the kids was Jeffrey's 11 year old niece and the other a 10 year old boy Jeffrey is involved with through the Big Brother Program.  These young impressionable kids had witnessed grave circumstances and a man very close to them armed to the teeth with virtues and experience few possess, bringing it all under control.

SOON after reaching Mundy's Gap the EMT's showed up and started their work.  I was hooked up to some oxygen, and an IV for hydration.  I was put in the truck and Park Policeman Jacob Barton drove me down to a waiting ambulance.  I was taken to William Beaumont Army Medical Center for treatment and checked out later that day.

EVERY one of the folks involved in this rescue is a hero to me.  They say they're just doing their job or they were just lending a hand.  But  no matter what their background is, or their occupation, or citizenship, they are all men and women of high morals and compassion.  Thank you and God bless you all.

Hydrate or die.  It's not just a catchy phrase - it's a fact!

The Penalty of Leadership

In every field of human endeavor, he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity. Whether the leadership be vested in a man or in a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work. In art, in literature, in music, in industry, the reward and the punishment are always the same. The reward is widespread recognition; the punishment, fierce denial and detraction. When a man’s work becomes a standard for the whole world, it also becomes a target for the shafts of the envious few. If his work be mediocre, he will be left severely alone – if he achieve a masterpiece, it will set a million tongues a -wagging. Jealousy does not protrude its forked tongue at the artist who produces a commonplace painting. Whatsoever you write, or paint, or play, or sing, or build, no one will strive to surpass or to slander you unless your work be stamped with the seal of genius. Long, long after a great work or a good work has been done, those who are disappointed or envious, continue to cry out that it cannot be done. Spiteful little voices in the domain of art were raised against our own Whistler as a mountebank, long after the big world had acclaimed him its greatest artistic genius. Multitudes flocked to Bayreuth to worship at the musical shrine of Wagner, while the little group of those whom he had dethroned and displaced argued angrily that he was no musician at all. The little world continued to protest that Fulton could never build a steamboat, while the big world flocked to the river banks to see his boat steam by. The leader is assailed because he is a leader, and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership. Failing to equal or to excel, the follower seeks to depreciate and to destroy – but only confirms once more the superiority of that which he strives to supplant. There is nothing new in this. It is as old as the world and as old as human passions – envy, fear, greed, ambition, and the desire to surpass. And it all avails nothing. If the leader truly leads, he remains – the leader. Master-poet, master-painter, master-workman, each in his turn is assailed, and each holds his laurels through the ages. That which is good or great makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor of denial. That which deserves to live — lives.
written by Theodore F. MacManus

A deadly viper once bit a hole snipe's hide; But 'twas the viper, not the snipe, that died.

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El Paso, Texas, United States
Native Texan · Navy Veteran · Various Scars and Tattoos · Never Schooled and Yet Learned

One from the archives

Post #269

What's money?  A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do. —B...