Story and caption by: Jay Bonafede, American Red Cross
Photo by: Stefanie Arcangelo, American Red Cross

4.1.16 John and Gordie MVA (2)
Red Cross volunteers John Vinje (L) and Gordon Howard were returning from doing damage assessment for families following the Southeast Texas floods when they witnessed a motor vehicle accident in Bon Wier. John and Gordon called 911, provided first aid for the driver and helped control traffic near the accident scene.

Red Cross volunteers Gordon Howard of Tully, New York and John Vinje of Portland, Oregon are currently part of the relief efforts following the Southeast Texas floods. On their way back from assessing the damaged homes in Bon Wier, Texas, they witnessed a different type of disaster.

“We saw this pickup truck coming toward us,” John said. “All of a sudden, it just flew off the road and into the trees.”

Gordon and John immediately pulled over and called 911. They began to cautiously approach the truck, not sure what the condition of the driver might be after such a horrific looking accident. Then they saw the man stumbling towards them.

“My feeling at the time was great relief to see the driver was not more seriously injured,” Gordon says.

John convinced the man to sit down and began using the only thing he could find in his truck–paper towels—to help stop the bleeding on any cut he could find. Meanwhile, Gordon went back to the road and tried to control traffic and prevent a second accident. After about 15 minutes, an ambulance arrived and began to care for the driver, so John joined Gordon on traffic control.

“He’s pretty banged up and has one major cut on his head,” John said. “But I think he’ll be okay.”

John says he’s never experienced a situation like this while working on a Disaster Relief Operation. He’s glad that he and Gordon were on the scene and had the ability to help in a different way.

“If he lives up that way, he probably suffered flood damage and was already being helped by the Red Cross,” John says. “It feels good to have been able to help in this way, too. Helping others in times of need is what the Red Cross is all about.”

Even during a relief operation, emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere. Make sure you know how to respond and possibly help save a life through CPR/AED/First Aid training. Learn