Man rescued by same fire department, and young man who he awarded grant to last year

“I relive the accident several times in a day,” said Mr. Rob Hinnant, who was trapped in his truck in the horrible car accident on I-35 on Tuesday, December 18. After being trapped, extricated and rescued by Moore Volunteer Firefighters and rushed to the hospital by one of their fire fighters who is also a medic, the family learned of something even more amazing….
Shortly after we went to press last week, the Hinnant family shared this special story with us.
“I just received this message from JD Earls and I have his permission to share it with you,” said the vicitm’s wife, Kim Hinnant. “I think it is so important for people to be aware of what our first responders do! Every day they risk their lives to save other people’s lives that they don’t even know:
“The scene was a mess,” said Moore Fire Chief JD Earls. “It didn’t take me long to assess the situation and realize Mr. Hinnant needed to be en route to a trauma center ASAP… I knew a fast transport was needed. One of my firefighters drove the ambulance to the hospital as he is also a medic and was on shift that morning on the ambulance. Sometimes the response time seems long, but that morning I had one on shift at the station, and I was leaving my house next door to the station when the call went out, so we were on scene in about five minutes from the time of the accident. I know Mr. Hinnant didn’t recognize me during all that was going on but Mr. Hinnant came by and took pictures with us last year as he awarded one of our firefighters with a grant for fire school from Farm Bureau.
The young man who was fortunate to receive that grant was the man who drove him to the hospital as fast as possible.”
Volunteer Firefighter/EMT Richard Hitchcock was that young man, and we got a chance to speak to him this week about this call, which will always be a special call for him.
“It’s a small world. Mr. Hinnant gave me a grant that allowed me to build my firefighting skills and then I also became an EMT, because to become a career firefighter you have to be an EMT also. I now work as an EMT on an ambulance stationed in Pearsall and that’s where I was when the call came in for this major accident. In the heat of the moment I did not recognize him and he didn’t recognize me. Later our Fire Chief JD asked me, ‘Did you recognize that man we rescued today?’ and that’s when he told me it was Mr. Hinnant who had awarded me the grant to go to fire school. I wasn’t even supposed to be on shift that morning but someone had called in sick, and I got to help a guy that helped me.”
We also spoke to the survivor of this horrible car accident, Mr. Robert Hinnant, who hopes this story will speak to the importance of our volunteer fire departments.
“I will say this,” said Mr. Hinnant, “I have donated to the volunteer fire department in the past, but not enough, and they were there for me anyway….I would ask everyone to take a few seconds to think about that and reconsider how you can help support our volunteer fire departments so that the tradition of these volunteer heroes continues. These guys don’t work for pay—they work from their heart. I remember being there in that truck, as the volunteer firemen cut me out and kept me awake. They didn’t want to lose me, didn’t want me to lose consciousness. They explained everything they were doing to me as they cut me out. It’s amazing what these people can do and that they are all volunteers.”
Mr. Hinnant was hit by oncoming traffic that flew across the median on I-35, hitting the driver’s side door, and then he was hit again from the other side, pinning him between.
“I could have easily died in that truck,” Hinnant continues. “…If you look at my truck….everything was squeezed as tightly as it could possibly be.”
“When it comes to the amazing way this story continues to unfold, Hinnant said “I know God’s hand was at work in this rescue. It would be easy to call these coincidences or to say I’m so lucky, but that’s not it at all….I’ve been blessed. I believe God has a purpose for me and he used Richard and Mr. Earls and the rest of their crew to keep me alive so I could give this testimony, so I could share this story. I’m closer to God now than ever before.”
“I just love the way God choreographs or orchestrates our lives. The board I’m on (Frio County Farm Bureau) is allowed to sponsor one firefighter to attend fire school each year, and the one firefighter we awarded was the one who drove me to the hospital,” Hinnant said. Furthermore, “I am told there were three ambulances assigned to this wreck, and Richard Hitchcock was in the third ambulance. What are the chances that he was the one that took me, the most critical patient?”
Hinnant lost a substantial amount of blood and suffered internal injuries so time was of the essence. With it being too foggy for AirLife to respond, responders were fortunately able to get him out quickly and had an ambulance ready to roll.
“I’m getting to see how God is working in so many ways. I also found out that the tools they used to cut me out of the truck just arrived about a week before the accident. They are stronger and faster tools than what they had before, allowing them to get me out and rush me to the hospital faster. Everything was in God’s perfect timing….There was just an undeniable spiritual feeling with the way things just seemed to fall together.”
“The first thing I’m going to do when I get out of the hospital is donate to the volunteer fire department and have a big BBQ to thank them,” Hinnant adds.
By Kayleen Holder