ToquiNotes: A Chance Encounter Gives City Resident a Chance to Thank Fire Staff for Saving Her Life

By Jeff Toquinto on September 15, 2018 from ToquiNotes via Connect-Bridgeport.com

One person can’t remember a second of it. The other remembers it as if it was yesterday.
 
The one who remembers the details has good reason to remember it. Josh Keough is a member of the Bridgeport Fire Department who has seen his fair share of bad incidents during his time with the city.
 
This incident qualified as bad. In fact, in qualified as real bad.
 
“It was around 3 a.m. in the morning and when we arrived we found two people ejected from their vehicle in the middle of the road and unresponsive,” said Lt. Keough. “There were car parts strung everywhere and the car was completely tore up. It was a bad scene.”
 
One of the individuals ejected from the car was Bridgeport’s Robin Smith. To this day, the only thing she can recall regarding the accident is the date it took place and where it took place.
 
“It was on Feb. 13, 2011 and it was on Route 131 near the Recreation Complex,” said Smith. “I know it was early in the morning when it happened and there were two of us. I went through the windshield and the person with me went through the sunroof. I was told we did not have our seatbelts on. I just don’t remember much of anything after leaving dinner that night; maybe I’ve tracked to block it all out.”
 
The incident was more than six and a half years ago. Smith ended up spending more than a month at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown and then a few weeks in rehabilitation at HealthSouth where she finally left on April 1 of that year.
 
“My jaw was wired shut. I still have a metal plate in my chin and left side of my face and a plate on my right arm and on my right hand,” said Smith. “My pinkie finger, I can’t move it straight up because of the tendons that were cut. I broke several ribs and some vertebrae in my neck … I know it was bad.
 
“I was told the doctors weren’t sure if I was going to make it,” she continued. “It was touch and go for a while. I guess that’s why maybe I don’t remember a lot of it or don’t want to remember a lot of it.”
 
Keough was quick to point out he wasn’t alone on the scene. The Bridgeport Fire Department arrived and Keough was in the company’s ambulance from the Main Street station. He said the entire group “sprung to action” as they’re trained to do.
 
“It wasn’t just me. There was an entire group of guys that were there. I was actually working on the other individual, but it’s cases like that where you have to work as a team to make sure everything is done to preserve life,” said Keough. “The decision was made pretty quickly to load them both for transport and get them to Ruby.”
 
While Keough remembered the incident, he hadn’t thought about it for years. That all changed earlier this month. And it all changed at the Meadowbrook Mall where Robin Smith was finally able to thank one of the individuals responsible for helping save her life.
 
Smith had her son Gabriel at the Connect-Bridgeport.com Kids Zone play area. While she was there she noticed someone else that had their son in the same place. It was Josh Keough.
 
“I noticed he was looking my way a few times, but I didn’t think much of it because people do that. I do that,” said Smith.
 
Eventually, Keough worked his way toward Smith. While Smith wasn’t sure who it was, Keough knew he knew the face. As it turned out, for more than just one reason.
 
“Her face looked familiar,” said Keough, a 2004 Bridgeport High School graduate. “We were in school together at Bridgeport. She was a senior when I was a freshman.
 
“We struck up a conversation and I finally put it together that I remembered her from that wreck,” he continued. “The bad one are the ones you remember and that was a bad one.”
 
When Smith realized after all those years a person who actually knew her was partially responsible for helping save her life was in front of her, she went a bit numb.
 
“I was just overwhelmed. It was a wow moment. I was amazed that he recognized me. I was so extremely thankful,” said Smith. “It touched me that there are so many good people out there. He did something so good and I know he wasn’t alone. Without him and all the men there that night who knows what would have happened.”
 
Smith knows this. The mother of 18-year-old Alyssa was able to be a mother again to 4-year-old Gabriel. She believes the quick action of the Bridgeport Fire Department made that possible.
 
“My family didn’t know that I would be able to go through having a child again, but the doctor said I was fine to carry a baby and now I have Gabriel and I still have Alylssa,” she said. “Knowing what I know about the accident, it’s a miracle I recovered,” said Smith. “I just want to say to him and everyone that was there that night an overdue thank you.
 
“What they do is a blessing to this community because they’re doing what God put us here for and that’s to help others,” she went on. “They don’t get the recognition and I imagine some take them for granted, but I never will. What they did for me and my family I can’t thank them enough. The chance to shake his hand was special to me and he was so sincere. I know I sound like I’m rambling, but it’s hard to adequately put the words together for what he was involved with and to be able to tell him thanks.”
 
For Keough, thanks was good enough. And if being in the background is part of a day’s work, that’s fine with him.
 
“Myself or any of the men I work with don’t consider ourselves doing anything special,” said Keough. “We do our job and we hope for the best in every situation. I was glad to be there that night to help and glad I got to see her and see she was doing well. It’s nice to hear the kind words, but it’s important to know it happened because of teamwork.”
 
Teamwork in this case that led to a win that resulted in life. That’s a win worth remembering.
 
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Robin Smith with her two children, while Lt. Josh Keough is shown below.


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