Nothing Can Prepare You

By Terry Webb

As a Fire Fighter and an Advanced EMT, I've spent over 30 years helping people in need.  I've been there to welcome in a new life and there to hold the hand of ones departing.
I’m here to say nothing can prepare you when it’s your turn.
Around 2 a.m. on May 8, 2005, my wife and I awoke to our daughter saying, “Dad there is a cop on the porch.”
Knowing our son had left the day before headed back to his home I never gave it a second thought it might be about him.  The officer handed me a note with a phone number on it for a hospital in Colorado Springs, Co., and said, “Your son was in an accident, you need to call this number ASAP.”
My heart dropped.  With some difficulty I dialed the number and spoke to the nurse.  She told me our son was involved in a one-vehicle, end-over-end rollover and we needed to come as soon as we could.
My wife and I, along with our daughter, left a few minutes later and drove the five hours from Dodge City to Colorado Springs. When we arrived, we were told our son had been the driver of a pickup which went off the road and rolled about three times end over end. He was ejected from his Toyota truck and landed about 25 yards from his vehicle on the highway.  My wife and I, both being EMTS at that time, knew he would be beat up and skinned up horribly from being ejected. They went on to tell us he had a partial collapsed lung and a few cuts.
My wife was upset with him for not wearing his seat belt and so very glad he was still alive all at the same time. Preparing for the worst we entered the room. We were shocked to see how well our son looked, a small cut to his shoulder about an inch long, another cut about the half that size to the top of his head and a final cut or scrape to his left shin. 
My wife asked the nurse again if they were sure he was ejected, she said yes.  With that my wife pulled Jeremy's hospital gown open and looked at his lap, chest and shoulder.  The nurse asked her what she thought she was doing. My wife stated, "We taught our kids to wear seat belts. I’m a Kansas EMT and I’m looking for bruises."
She then took a deep breath and smiled and proceeded to show the nurse the bruises on his hips and across his chest where his belt had held him tight.  Stunned, the nurse looked at us and said, “I’ll be darned, there are bruises there.” Then our son opened his eyes and said he had his belt on, and after the wreck he walked to the road where he thinks he passed out.
Jeremy’s recovery was not an easy or quick one by any stretch. And by the photos we took of his truck, he is one extremely lucky young man. His living hung on one simple act - that of having his seat belt on. For us the story could have ended much differently. My wife and I thank God every day that we taught our kids to buckle up. In turn God has rewarded us with our son and his wife along with four beautiful granddaughters.
Folks, in my 30+ years in the fire and EMS field I can say for a fact seat belts and less distractions like texting and talking on a cell phone has helped to save many lives.
I have witnessed the other side of that story too many times. I've picked up the lifeless bodies of children whose only crime was having a parent who didn't make them wear a seat belt. And I have also picked up the bodies of friends - many had said they are a safe driver, they didn't need a damn belt. In almost all those cases one simple step, one simple action could have saved their life,
Buckle up and teach your children the reason why they should buckle up all the time, every time no matter how long or short the drive. Let them know it’s not a punishment but because you love them and want them here for a long time to come.

Terry Webb is a retired Fire Fighter and Advanced EMT in Dodge City


  1. WOW. My heart sank when I read the opening paragraphs, Terry...but as I read on, I kept thinking...YOUR family's outcome is why we all love our careers in traffic safety! Thanks for sharing your personal story in such a powerful way.

    1. It's my pleasure to share this story here. Typing it out was a bit hard. I left out a few parts.

  2. Anonymous9/16/2014

    Terry, I am so thankful that you still have your son! This is one of the most important lessons a parent can teach their child.

  3. Kirk Hutchinson9/16/2014

    Terry, thanks for sharing your story, my friend. I also know the fear and relief when you learn your children have been in a wreck, but they'll be all right, because they were wearing their seat belts. There's no argument: seat belts save lives.

  4. I'm really happy your story has a happy ending. And your willingness to share your experience will likely cause others to remember to buckle up. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Terry, I’m sure you wear your seatbelt as children learn by example. In this story, an example that is almost as precious as the gift of life itself. Appreciate sharing your story.

  6. Tom H.9/16/2014

    That muscle memory of always buckling comes in very handy. So glad you taught your kids the right way!

  7. Micki Webb Jeremy's Mom9/17/2014

    You are so right nothing can prepare you for something like this. I am very greatful that our children listened to us and also learned from our example to wear their seat belts. We were very lucky that night. I can not imagine our lives without Jeremy. Yes he will have to live with some medical issues that the accident left him with but he is alive and well and that is all that matters to us. He is now happily Married and the father of 4 very active little girls ranging in age from 18 months to 6 yrs of age. He is one very LUCKY Man!!! Again Thank You Lord for watching over him that night and keeping him save in your arms. Amen

  8. Anonymous9/19/2014

    Terry, Great job. Nuff said.