October 3, 2014
Lightning strikes kill about 24,000 people worldwide a year. Luckily, National Guardsman Jordan Hale didn’t become No. 24,001.
Hale was on his motorcycle, traveling more than 830 miles from Illinois to Louisiana for an NRA firearms course at Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk . “There was not a cloud in the sky when I left my driveway,” he said.
But when he crossed the state line into Louisiana, dark clouds took over the sky and the weather took a turn for the worse. As heavy rain beat down, lightning struck Hale and sent him flying more than 95 feet into a flooded ditch.
Military Police Officer David Chapman and his girlfriend, Emily Parker, were first on the scene, followed by Ginger Robertson, a registered nurse at Beauregard Memorial Hospital in DeRidder, Louisiana. Soon after Robertson dialed 911, the responders and medics with Beauregard Parish District 4 Fire Department and Acadian Ambulance arrived.
“When I first saw Jordan, I didn’t have much hope for him,” Paramedic Jarred Knight said. “His body was in terrible shape from deep cuts to severe burns, and on top of that, he had no pulse.”
Knight and his partners, EMTs Brittany Counts and Lisa Reid, took turns defibrillating Hale until his heart started beating again. By the time Hale reached Rapides Regional Medical Trauma Center in Alexandria, Louisiana, he was trying to speak.
“If he wasn’t yelling in pain, he was trying to talk,” Knight said. “Although he was hurting, it was a great sign for our team, and we knew then and there he was going to make it.”
Acadian Quality Improvement Coordinator Jon Reid said, “As strange as it sounds, he picked the perfect place to get hit by lightning. What are the odds of having two experienced first responders behind you after being involved in a serious motorcycle accident? David and Ginger were major players in saving Jordan’s life.”
Though Hale’s injuries ranged from broken bones to third-degree burns, he is in rehabilitation and on his way to a full recovery.
“I was shocked, no pun intended, after being told I was struck by lightning,” Hale said. “I don’t even remember driving in bad weather.”
“I should not be alive,” he said. “The circumstances of my accident were so crazy, and for everything to line up and result in me being here today is nothing short of a miracle.”
Since 1971, Acadian has provided the highest level of emergency medical care and transportation possible. In the past decade, the company has expanded to include a diverse suite of services in health, safety, security, and transportation. Acadian’s six divisions are Acadian Ambulance Service, Acadian Total Security, Air Med, Executive Aircraft Charter Service, National EMS Academy and Safety Management Systems.