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Sandy's fire chaplain a blessing

I want to say a few words about someone I met for the first time in the community. It was under the worst of circumstances, but nonetheless I'm glad our paths crossed.

Our 9-year-old daughter had a horseback riding accident last week. She fell off the horse, and it stepped on her. My husband carried her into the house, and there was a large, red, perfect hoof-print on her stomach. I won't go into details, but we were absolutely positive there were internal injuries.

My husband called the Sandy fire station and let them know we'd be there immediately so they could transport her to the hospital.

The staff had the ambulance ready to go, and they immediately started to work on our daughter. They were wonderful. Then I heard the two most horrible words a parent could possibly hear: 'Life Flight.' Thankfully, it was decided that she would be OK to go to Emanuel Hospital.

A wonderful man named Dennis Simons introduced himself to me. He is the chaplain for both Sandy Fire and the Sandy Police Department. He was the warmest and kindest person. I'd heard really nice things about Dennis; I had just never met him until now.

My husband rode in the ambulance with our daughter. I was just standing there with my younger son, kind of in a daze. Dennis said he would drive my son and me to the hospital. To watch your child leave in an ambulance with the lights and sirens going is one of the most horrible experiences ever as a parent. Dennis drove us and handed my son a quilt to keep. They are made to hand out to people in these types of situations.

I cannot tell you how much that meant to us. To the people who make the quilts, I want you to know what a wonderful thing you do.

Dennis has an extremely calming presence, and he's also very sincere. He made the ride to the hospital bearable to a person who was ready to crawl out of her skin. He tried to get me to relax, and he chatted with my son about school and other things.

When we finally made it to the hospital, Dennis checked us in at the emergency room. We then sat and sat and sat. He would find out why nobody was coming to tell me what was going on.

I finally got to go back and see my daughter. They were beginning to prep her for surgery. Dennis sat with our son so I could go see her.

I never got to say goodbye to Dennis. I cannot repay him for what he did. He'll never know what it meant to me to have him go so far out of his way for us. Our daughter was in the hospital for two nights. She was able to leave early because she was doing so well.

I was told that Dennis called that first day to check on her. He wanted us to know that the fire station was thinking of her. I'll be taking our daughter to the station this next week to thank people.

Our daughter is doing great, and we basically have to sit on her to get her to slow down. She celebrated her 10th birthday this last Sunday. Sometimes it takes experiences like this to make us look around and see how blessed we really are. How blessed we are for Dennis and for Sandy Fire.

Donja Bunnell is a Sandy resident.