DAVID CARROLL: The story behind the photo: Chattanooga Fire Dept - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

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DAVID CARROLL: The story behind the photo: Chattanooga Fire Dept. heroes

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RD and the fire truck RD and the fire truck
Whitney, Savannah, RD and Richard Sailors Whitney, Savannah, RD and Richard Sailors
Firefighter Engineer Jason Dill, Lt. Jack Babb, and Firefighter Jameel “Jay” Abdullah Firefighter Engineer Jason Dill, Lt. Jack Babb, and Firefighter Jameel “Jay” Abdullah
RD and Richard RD and Richard

Every once in a while, I see a picture and I just stare at it.  It might as well be framed and mounted in my mind.  This is one of those pictures.

A little boy and a fire truck.  This is not the first such picture, but it’s my favorite, because there’s a story behind it. 

RD (Richard Delano) Saylors is 23 months old.  His parents are Richard, just out of US Army basic training, and Whitney.  They live in the Brainerd area of Chattanooga, and also have a 3-month old daughter Savannah.

RD is an active, playful boy, a normal almost-2 year old, except for his seizures.  He’s had four now. The first three happened a few months ago.  Then on Monday May 2nd, he had his fourth, and it was the most frightening of all.

Whitney told me, “This seizure was different because blood was coming out of his mouth. That was the first time we’ve seen that. The firemen from Station 13 were the first to arrive. They quickly diagnosed it as him biting down on his tongue, which is common among those who have seizures.”

Firefighters are often first responders, and the three who treated RD knew just what to do.  Whitney said, “After they put RD in the ambulance and his seizing had come to a stop, they put an IV in his arm. He didn’t even make a peep!  He was fixated on the fire trucks lights. The firemen were impressed that RD took the IV so well. One fireman even said “He takes IV’s better than I do!”

After RD was settled and stabilized, the firemen kept talking about how much the little boy loved the fire truck. They invited the family to visit the station as soon as RD felt better.

Whitney said, “Two days later the firemen showed up at our front door. They just wanted to check on the little guy and see how he was doing.  As parents, we worry about RD and sometimes even question the Lord as to why certain things happen.  Then we experience a little blessing that reminds us how good He is.”

A few days later, Whitney asked RD if he was ready to visit the fire station, to see the big truck again.  He eagerly nodded his head, so the family loaded up the car.  “At first, he was a little quiet, but he quickly warmed up,” Whitney said. “He kept pointing to it and saying “truck!” They let him inside, and of course they turned the lights on. I think you can see from the pictures how much we all enjoyed it.  Their hospitality really made a huge difference for our family’s experience.”

The three firefighters who answered the call that day are Jason Dill, Lt. Jack Babb and Jameel “Jay” Abdullah. I’m sure it would have been easy for them to chalk it up as “just another call,” but they went the extra mile, as firefighters always do.  They are truly unsung heroes.

Up next for RD is an EEG (electroencephalogram), a test that detects electrical activity in the brain using small, flat metal discs (electrodes) attached to the scalp. This will help determine if his seizures are connected to epilepsy.  Until then, the hopeful prognosis is, that his seizures are febrile. Febrile seizures are ultimately minor because they don’t have long term effects and children usually outgrow them around age 5.  The test is scheduled for late May.

Whitney concluded by saying, “Having your child go through a seizure is horrific. The possibility of RD having another seizure is very real and very scary for us. However, it is comforting to know that the first responders at Station 13 are just down the road from us. Not only did they treat my son’s symptoms flawlessly, they also treated him and my family with tenderness. We are lucky to say the least.”

Aren’t we all, Whitney.  Aren’t we all.

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