A Salute to All Veterans

A Salute to All Veterans

Our guest blogger today is Amanda Hopkins, a writer and runner who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Every year, I salute the veterans in my family and many of my friends. My brother, Michael, my boyfriend Dustin, my good friend, Andy, my friend’s husband, Dave, all served in Iraq or Afghanistan or both. My uncles served in Vietnam and Korea. These people already know how much I love and appreciate them for what they have done in service to our country and to their families.

This year there’s also someone I want to recognize. On the Friday before Labor Day this year, I was jogging across the Purple People Bridge. I don’t remember much about the run before I got to the bridge, but about halfway across, there was a man who had just collapsed. I couldn’t tell what was going on until I got a bit closer and saw that a couple began running toward him and yelling for help.

I got up to them and asked what I could do for help. I ran down to the levee and alerted security and then noticed an ambulance was already out front. By the time both the EMTs and I made it back, another man and woman were doing CPR. I watched with these two people as the EMTs took over and worked on this man for several minutes. This was the first time I had ever seen the life drain from anyone. What bothered me the most was that this man didn’t have any form of ID on him. This ate at me thinking about his family not knowing where he was. About four days later, though, by some weird twist of fate, I found out that this man, Jim Foy, had been a friend of my aunt’s.

I’ve thought about Jim and his family every day since that day. I researched a bit about him and it turns out he was a decorated veteran, a master sergeant in the Air Force who was known for his work at the VA hospital. As I’ve told the story about how I encountered him, I’ve found more connections to him. A friend of mine, also an Air Force veteran, told me that his mom worked with Jim. That same guy’s girlfriend worked with Jim’s wife. He did great work and, knowing many veterans in my own life, I am so thankful for his support of his country and his family.

I’ve relived those moments on the bridge many times since August 30th. I think about what else I could have done in those moments; if I could have run faster for help; if I could have been the one that started CPR; if someone would have gotten to him 30 seconds earlier.

I want Jim’s family to know that, in his final moments, there were strangers that fought to save him and others who ran for help, and that he was not alone during his final moments. There were people that were not going to leave a man behind.

If you get the chance today, thank a veteran. Don’t hashtag it or salute them on Facebook. Do it in person.
Photo: fotokate/PhotoXpress

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