When sophomore Ryan Hyde was a youngster, his mother would take him to the Hollis Fire Department once a week to sit in the trucks and gather all the energy a fire house can offer to the imagination of a young boy. Years later, the Hollis Fire Department would continue to intersect in Ryan's life at timely moments: first when he had an anaphylactic reaction in class; second to transport him to the Maine Medical’s trauma center after a terrible ski accident leading to his eventual brain surgery; and finally to come to his aid after a car accident in his friend’s vehicle only a month after his recovery from aforementioned brain surgery. Reflecting on these early experiences, Ryan notes, “all that I have been through has made me appreciate the work of the Fire Service even more, sealing the deal that I wanted to become involved in the same work that has done so much for me. Being on the cusp of death more than once, and living to tell the tale, has made me recognize the power and importance that a singular person can have on a life.”
Today, Ryan is certainly repaying his dues as a certified First Responder and a member of the Hollis Fire Department. On campus, his presence as a First Responder is indispensable, be it as the sweeper on Mountain Day or as one of the medics at a ski race. He takes the motto, “truth and courage to heart” and is often seen with a shovel in hand, helping out around campus.
Below is a personal essay Ryan wrote in the fall of English 10 about a life changing moment he witnessed with the Hollis Fire Department.
A Deadly Decision
By Ryan Hyde (2017)
Lights were flashing everywhere - blue, red, and amber- and as I arrived on the scene, the first thing I saw was a smoldering suburban next to the crumpled remains of a Toyota Camry. The Camry looked like it was a badly stepped on soda can, devoid of any contents,
until I heard the fearful, pitiful sound of metal ripping into the trapped man’s flesh. There was a lingering stench of oil and gasoline as a white powder whispered in the air, trailing the scent of exploded air bags. I looked to see the passers-bye in shock, occupied within their spectator ship of the horror in front of them. Nothing can impact you more than seeing the consequences of attempting to defying gravity, or the human body’s remains after such a flight.
This car accident was one of my first calls in the fire service and also one of my first times witnessing such a blatant example of human ignorance. The man in the car was wrapped around the steering wheel, screaming in pain, while another man was in shock and silently witnessing the harm that was done by such a split second mistake. There he stood, like a zombie, half-alive. Firemen soon encircled the trapped man and used a lot of hydraulic power equipment to untangle the bent and wrecked metal covering the bent and wrecked man. The medics soon rushed in, swept him out to the hospital, and the scene cleared.
The offender of the head on collision remained standing and speechless; he had no words. But, it was in the absence of his words that I found my own: I would be a firefighter one day. After this event, I was sure I wanted to save people. Although I was just in training during this crash, I believed I made a positive impact, even if just a small one, to make someone’s worst day of their life just a little better.
This first car accident was a turning point for me: it made me realize the importance of safe driving and the power of a single seat belt. Whether it is someone getting in my car, or me getting into another’s vehicle, there is no way the wheels will roll until everybody has their seat belt on. I do not feel pity for those in accidents who willfully refuse to put on their seat belts, but I do feel a motivation to not let this tragic mistake happen to anyone I know. At the end of the day, the buckle of a belt is better than the crunch of a skull.