Friday, August 03, 2007

Minnesota Heroes: Thank You

(photo credits

In the wake of the bridge I35W collapse in Minnesota, I just wanted to say thank you to a very courageous and purposeful group of people. From what I witnessed downtown later that evening, those on the police, paramedic, and emergency crews did a wonderful job keeping focused and getting the job done as fast and as well as they possibly could.

I live about an hour away south of the Twin Cities area. But we happened to be up there that day as our daughter was taking her university orientation days at the college right close by the bridge. We were coming and going on that bridge several times that same day. We were on it about 30-45 minutes before the collapse. Nothing seemed wrong with the bridge when we crossed it aside from a little construction work.

(photo credits Star Tribune)

My husband decided to go back to our hotel around 6 pm another route due to traffic and I am so glad he did. Earlier, we had talked about possibly taking our daughter off campus for supper as well about that same time.... Thankfully, she could not leave her U-MN orientation seminars. Our daughter was frantic that we might have been on the bridge when the univ staff told the kids about the bridge. She had just recently suffered the loss of a good friend to a car accident and didn't want that kind of loss to happen to her again. But we finally got thru to her on text messaging that we were fine. The cell towers were a bit overwhelmed with all the calls in the region at once. Texting seemed to work best. Reception was slow but still got through. Thank you to all our family and friends who called to make sure we were ok.

We went to pick our daughter up as soon as we could from the University area. Legions of other people were on the scene downtown. People ranged from heroic and helpful bystanders to several hundreds of gawkers on cell phones to people holding hands and praying for the best. Concern was on every face we passed. No one took it lightly.

(photo credit

Back near the river front area of the college campus, we could see the devastation in the river. Heliocopters were going back and forth overhead as fast as they could to the the three close local university and other hospitals. The police and emergency people had traffic and crowds of gawkers pretty well in hand. I was amazed at the thousands of gawkers in just an hour or two. You can see thousands of people just on the bridge in the background of the photo here below. Of course with the Univ of MN right there behind the trees, it is expected. Everyone was walking and on cell phones talking about it. Crazy rerouting of traffic was needed downtown and done fairly well.

Through all that chaos of the mini traffic jams, rerouting of streets, university orientation congestion, the bar crowds downtown, and more, those emergency personnel kept it moving and kept working. We saw caravans of ambulances, firetrucks, the news media vans, and several helicopters overhead flying to hospitals and back seemed to be doing the jobs that they had to do in record time. Road worker crews had street detour signs up and cones out and they were themselves flagging downtown traffic flow to keep things cool and calm near the scene.

(Photo credits Star Tribune)

I just wanted to say thank you to all those who lent a hand during this terrible tragedy. They don't get thanked enough for what they do. Maybe it is because my son is a paramedic, rescue diver, and ambulance driver in Michigan that I notice these things now where I didn't used to.....Scary, amazing work these people do. Thank God for them.

(photo credit:

I am just a bystander who was 'almost' on the bridge at 6pm. Just a few variables stopped my family from being on the bridge. I pray for all those involved in the actual accident and for the families of the missing. And I want to thank all the emergency personnel and the many behind the scenes emergency management people it took to get things underway to help out. Everyday people also helped out and I am so glad for that. I saw what looked like 8 or 9 football players on Vespas with flashlights duct taped to their helmets--all headed down to help out as a group....I saw 'punks' in pink and black running toward the scene with first aid kits from their cars....everyday people trying to help.

(photo credit Reuters News Service)

As for us, we finally got out of the university downtown area and over to our hotel with daughter later that evening. Glad to be all safe. Watching the news footage that night was an even bigger eye-opener than the small aftermath scenes we had witnessed.

Anyone who reached out a hand that day--and the days that follow--is a hero. It could have been my family that you were helping. And even though it wasn't me and mine this time around, Thank you. You guys and gals are our heroes.

(photo credits: Misc national news wire services)


Ahorsesoul said...

Excellent thank you!

Sally said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photo collection, Rock. As a former Minnesotan, my heart and prayers are with all those affected. Thanks again for your very articulate description of the several hours you observed.



Rockester said...

All photos here are credited to the major news services. I had my camera with me that night but didn't think of it at first and then didn't feel right about taking photos just to have some. I didn't know at the time I was going to write about it then. All photos are credited here in small print with where I found them.

Anonymous said...


I am Sally's sister and she forwarded your special words. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and all made everything seem even more real. Blessings to you and your family; especially your daughter.

Julie Eklund

angela said...

You are an amazing person. I thank you for taking the time and heart to express yourself about this horrific event. I have said my prayers each day for everyone that's helped or been effected by this.
God was watching over all that survived. Including your family!