Without the people on that truck, I’d be making funeral arrangements right now.
Pat Shank understandably gets a bit emotional when talking about the day he nearly lost his 27-year-old daughter, and the heroes from St. Cloud Fire Rescue who helped her survive.
“These people put their boots on, get on that truck, and do this job every day, and they’ll all tell you it’s just their job,” Shank said. “But to me, it’s more than that. They’re heroes, and especially with everything going on in the world today, I want them to know that they are appreciated. This is a story that needs to be told.”
Shank visited St. Cloud Fire Rescue Station 31 on Tuesday morning to meet the crew that responded to the 911 call a few weeks ago after his daughter overdosed.
“When you guys dropped her off at the hospital, she was intubated and on life support,” Shank said. “The prognosis wasn’t good. My world was crumbling. I got that call, and I was a broken man at that point.”
The days that followed were fraught with worry, and very little good news. “They all told me that she’d probably have permanent damage if she survived,” he said.
As they waited for her condition to improve, one of her nurses at the hospital asked Pat what kind of music his daughter liked. Pat, a musician, suggested they try Lynard Skynard and Pink Floyd, because it would remind her of the music she grew up listening to with her dad.
“If she heard that, she’d know it was from me,” he recalled. A few days later, the nurse called with good news: His daughter was awake. “She woke up on a Lynard Skynard song,” he said with a smile.
Still, she had a long way to go in her recovery. “They told us this may be all you get,” he said. “I thought, ‘Well, if that’s what we get, that’s what we get. At least I still have my daughter.’ ” Pat, who calls himself a “crooked Christian,” said he kept praying. “I was asking the Big Guy for a lot. I wasn’t in a good spot.” About a week later, he got the miracle he’d been praying for: “She called and asked me where her purse and her cell phone were. I knew right then she was going to be fine.”
He credits her recovery in large part to the efforts of St. Cloud Fire Rescue. “There’s not a doctor I talked to that didn’t tell me that if the paramedics hadn’t done what they did for her, this story would not have a happy ending.”
Assistant Fire Chief Chad Peterson expressed appreciation to Shank for taking the time to come to the station to meet the crew. “We truly appreciate it,” Peterson said. “We normally don’t get to hear the flip side of the story and hear how it turned out.”
“Please know that this community loves each and every one of you, and we’re grateful for the work you do,” Shank said.