By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Author’s Note: Grace Under Pressure is an on-going series of posts honoring everyday people who courageously make positive differences in their own lives and consequently in the lives of others. It is my own personal affirmation that unexpected heroes reside among us and that they serve as quiet but unshakable proof that virtue really is its own reward – and ours, too.
“I’m a nurse, and I’m going to take good care of you.” These are likely the last words spoken to Boston Marathon bombing victim, Krystle Campbell. Nurse Stephen Segatore was on Boylston Street near the finish line volunteering his time to tend to the needs of runners who ran in the international race. First responders brought the near lifeless body of Campbell, age 29 , to Segatore. The MassBay Community College student, who also managed a restaurant, wasn’t breathing and her face was streaked with black powder marks indicating she was very near the blast site. Realizing she was in dire straits, Segatore, a physician, and another healthcare professional commenced a grueling ten minute attempt at CPR. Because the wounds were so severe even that heroic effort would not be successful. A cardiac monitor showed her heart wasn’t pumping blood. Campbell was the only one of scores of unexpected patients that Segatore worked on that day who expired.
Segatore saw a photograph of Krystle the next day and immediately recognized her from her freckles and distinctive blue eye shadow. Those facial features reminded Segatore of his own daughter. That realization led him to approach the press with a message to Krystle’s parents. “I want them to know she was not alone when she died,” he said. “We did everything we could to save her, but her wounds were too great.” Campbell didn’t suffer long either. “I don’t think she lingered. I don’t think she suffered,” he said. “If it were my daughter, I would want to know that.”
Segatore represents hundreds of police, fire, health care professionals, military personnel and just ordinary Americans who ran towards the bomb blast ignoring the international terrorist adage to “take cover, there may be another.” There was and still they came. Omit that heroism and you assuredly have many more fatalities. There was something else too. The sense of compassion and community was as real as the horror inflicted by the bomb that day.
Many people decry American exceptionalism and blame that perceived haughtiness for all manner of international ills. But after viewing the actions of those Americans of every race and creed who ran into harm’s way to save their fellows with no regard for their own safety, and all the while knowing the risks involved, how else can you describe them except as “exceptional”?
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger