WILMINGTON, N.C. (WSFX) – An unsung hero helped an accident victim after his life changed in an instant.
Blake Holmes, 27, was on a motorcycle when a driver slammed into his bike.
“I have a flash of an image,” he said. “I remembered it looked like a white car hit me and it was just really hard jolt.”
The next thing Holmes remembers is when he woke up in the hospital. He was on the surgery table and intubated.
Holmes broke several bones, including his ankle, ribs and back.
“I was in so much pain I couldn’t move,” he said.
This Spartan runner, who lived a very active lifestyle, faced a difficult diagnosis.
“When the doctor came in and told me that my leg was broken really badly and I was in pretty bad shape, he said, ‘I just want to prepare you mentally for the possibility that you may have to get your leg removed and that may be the best option for you.’ When he told me that I was like, alright, I know this is really bad,” Holmes recalled.
In the end, because of the risk of infection, the choice was his leg or his life.
He had eight surgeries in less than a month.
The accident was Nov. 9, 2019. He did not get out of his hospital bed until Dec. 1.
Wilmington Police Officer Eric Lippert, who responded to the accident, kept trying to see him in the hospital. But, every time he visited, Holmes was getting another operation.
“It took me 10 days and I walk into this guy‘s hospital room and he has a smile on his face,” Lippert said.
While Blake was healing, unknown to Holmes, Lippert worked to help him.
“Knowing the way the criminal justice system can sometimes fall short, I knew that Blake was going to be left holding a lot of the financial responsibility himself,” he said.
According to police, the driver who hit Holmes and caused the accident, Tirik Johnson-Morse, was uninsured. His license was revoked and his vehicle registration was expired, according to Lippert.
“He’s not looking at jail time. At the worst he will probably get some probation,” Lippert said.
This left Holmes with mounting medical bills.
To make things easier for Holmes when he returned home, Lippert went above and beyond.
On his day off, he built a wheelchair ramp for Holmes with wood donated by Home Depot.
“If he were to show up in a wheelchair, how is he going to get up that front steps?” Lippert asked himself. “If it helped him get into his own house, to sleep in his own bed, to see his cat for the first time in a month that’s what it’s all about.”
Lippert said he tries to live by words of President Abraham Lincoln.
“I’m a history buff,” Lippert said. “I like Abraham Lincoln and at some point, during his presidency, he was asked a question about his religion and he said something to the effect of, ‘When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.’ I like that. So, you do something good for somebody, it makes you feel good. It’s that simple.
The act of kindness made Holmes feel good.
“I definitely could not have gotten into my home without it,” he said. “It’s good to see, with all the things happening nowadays with relationships between the community and police officers, there are good police officers out there. There are good people out there.”
Blake hopes to run Spartan races again and climb mountains.
He’s hoping to get a prosthetic that allows him to do that.
But those are expensive and are not always covered by insurance, so friends already organized fundraisers to help him, including this online donation drive: https://www.gofundme.com/f/look-twice-save-a-life-benefit-for-blake
Do you know anyone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty? Nominate them for our next Unsung Hero segment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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