Tanner Strange is a local volunteer firefighter with over four and half years of experience at Caldwell Fire and Rescue. On June 9, 2014, there was a house fire just south of Caldwell that he was helping with. When Tanner had a moment, he decided to take a look at a few things on the other side of the highway. Once Tanner finished, he proceeded to head back to the fire ground side of the highway. While crossing, he was blinded by an 18-wheeler heading toward him, but didn’t see any traffic coming from the other direction. After the 18-wheeler passed, Tanner proceeded to cross the road, but did not see another 18-wheeler coming toward him in the opposite direction.
“When I was half way in the lane, I noticed the semi coming at me, but it was traveling too fast for me to move out of the way,” Tanner said. Unfortunately, Tanner was hit by the semi. “At the time of the accident, I immediately became unconscious. I woke up in the middle of the road with medics and fellow firefighters holding me down. All I could see was blood everywhere and felt severe pain. I then began to fall in and out of consciousness. I had a severe lesion on my scalp, a shattered nose, and a lot of other issues to cause a large concern to the medics. They thought I was so severe that they tried to call a medical helicopter to transport me to a trauma hospital as fast as possible, but was unable to do so due to the bad weather.”
The medics loaded Tanner into the ambulance and took off to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bryan. Tanner explained that, “The entire ride to the hospital was an experience I will never forget. I felt like I was fading in and out… I remember being in so much pain that I thought I was coming very close to the end of my life. I just kept repeating to God that if this is it for me, know that I love you, my family, and that I wish I could have done more for Him. About half way through my trip to the hospital, I remember God just giving me the extra strength to carry on, and I felt like I had fresh air again.”
Once Tanner arrived at the hospital, he was in excruciating pain. The doctors were worried because he wasn’t moving certain ligaments and they assumed he would have major head trauma.
“I underwent just about every test that I could imagine, but the doctors were shocked that all they could find was a broken nose. They couldn’t explain it, and I soon became known as the miracle in the hospital,” Tanner said. “Even though I was in severe pain, all I could think about was that I was still alive and my injuries were no longer life-threatening.”
After spending a few days in the hospital and constantly running tests that kept coming back fine, Tanner just felt more and more loved by God. He just wanted to go and tell the world about how good He was. Tanner said, “God saved my life and gave me a story that I personally know saved three atheists when they heard the story. I definitely got closer to God and still am after that day. It reminded me how real He was and that He actually loved me and protected me when I called out to Him… I have no doubt that God played a major role in that.”
To this day, the memory of that day still plays frequently in Tanner’s head. “I live in pain from day to day; I am thankful that it happened. My life took a major step back, and I was able to see that I wasn’t living in the right way that I needed to be.”
Tanner has grown a much deeper love for God and has gained a deeper understanding of what life is about. He adds that we should not be so judgmental and should show everyone the love that Jesus first showed us. We may never know when our time will come, but God’s love is great, and He will be there for you in your time of need.
article by Ariel Rosentswieg