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Friday, February 28, 2014

The End of an Era for Charleston South Carolina and the Low Country... So Long Les Langdale!


You are riding down the interstate, safe and warm in your vehicle. Suddenly and without warning, a truck-driver on the opposite side of the barrier elects to use an "official vehicle only" pass through, and pulls right into your path. You can't move right because there is a semi in the next lane. You slam down the brake pedal, but a speed of 75 miles per hour cannot be undone in an instant. You watch the event unfold as if in slow motion, but it happens in a blink. The nose of your car disappears underneath the side of the truck and then all is black...

When you come to, the first thing you feel is intense pain. To the point of nausea. Smoke and steam stink the air, and you can taste blood in your mouth and feel sharp edges where your teeth had been. You hurt. All over. Your legs feel loose and disjointed, and they hurt.

Oh God help me...





But when you hear the the sound of help coming, it's not God, it's a large angel in a blue flight suit. You can hear the helicopter landing as the firefighters cut your car in pieces to get you out.

You are surrounded by concerned faces, and cold, and shaking. A warm blanket is placed over you. A needle pricks your arm and a mask is put over your nose and mouth - don't throw up - you think to yourself. Then you are slid into the back of a helicopter, and you look up into the eyes of a friendly giant.

"Hi, I'm Les, how'r you doing?"

"I hurt" you say.

"Okay, we can help with that. What's your name?"

You don't know it, but everything Les says and does has a purpose, and he is figuring out exactly what lifesaving care you will require on the way to the hospital. You are lucky, because this man has cared for thousands of souls, and knows exactly what to do and say with a minimum of fuss or drama. If you stop breathing, he will breath for you. If your loss of blood drops your blood pressure he will handle that too. He and his partner have you and you are safe.

Your pain leaves you and a feeling of peace overtakes you, and sleep...

You have met Les Langdale...and you are safe.

Les is retiring, after protecting people for decades. I have flown with him since 2001, and he taught me much about this business. It was a pleasure to work with you sir...

Please join me in wishing him clear skies and tailwinds from here on out. 
Today marks the end of an era. After nearly 3500 flights, Les is hanging up his flight suit. So many people in the Lowcountry and across South Carolina owe their lives to the skills and talents of him and his fellow flight crew members. He would say "Just doing my job!" I am so proud of him for the courage he has shown to close this chapter of his life and begin to write a new chapter. #myunsunghero #36

11 comments:

  1. Nice tribute Dan- Miss all you guys.....E

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  2. What a nice article. Now you can drive Lisa crazy.You are an amazing man. Good luck!!!!

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  3. Thank you for your service.

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  4. As a firefighter for over 20 years and a truck driver how can you write a post like this? there are more accidents from people texting then truck drivers being idiots.I personally work with all you guys at life net. GOOD LUCK LES .

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  5. I've never worked with Les, but out here in the West I've worked with several like him. When we need a chopper in rural Colorado, we NEED a chopper, and I'm glad there are a couple we can call. Thanks for your work!

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  6. I've had the pleasure of working with Les and wish him all the best! George Condon

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  7. I had the pleasure of working with Les at Meducare for a few years and wish him the best in his future endeavors!

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  8. What a character...I have known Les for many years and I have turned over many a "train wreck" patient to his care. He was always calm, and confidently knew how to fix the immediate problems at hand. Les never hesitated to take time to educate those interested in learning from his experience...and did so in a non-intimidating manner. His boots will definitely be dificult to fill. Good luck, my friend!

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  9. I had the pleasure of taking my first flight with Dan, John, and Les before being set free at Meducare. It's been a pleasure being able to still flight follow you from Omaha. Good luck Les! I'll miss ya buddy!

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  10. As a relief pilot, I had many opportunities to work with Les. His skills with the patient, his high committment to safety and his teamwork with all of us made our work shifts something to look forward to. Sure do miss you, Les. Enjoy your retirement from EMS. Lee

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