DAMTA President’s Message
September 2017
Hello Friends
I have an unusual message this month. It has nothing to do with music. It may have something to do with teaching, although I’m still trying to understand exactly what lessons I observed yesterday.
I witnessed a miracle yesterday. My 15 year old granddaughter is alive today, and it’s a miracle that she is.
My beautiful and compassionate stepdaughter has a strong, big hearted husband. They have two great kids; a 15 year old girl and a 10 year old boy. They had a rough week last week. There was a controversy at school and there were unpleasant interactions with the media. My son-in-law was just recovering from one surgery and getting ready for another on Monday. They all felt the need for some R&R and decided to head to Aspen for some hiking.
They were enjoying the gorgeous Colorado mountains outside of Aspen Saturday afternoon. They were at a waterfall hiking near the top. My son-in law warned his kids to be careful, as some of the rocks near the top were slippery. But despite his warnings, my granddaughter inadvertently stepped on a slippery rock, lost her footing and fell 20 feet into the rushing water below. The river was full of rocks at that point. She hit the back of her head on a rock, and went under water. The water was gushing so quickly it was like rapids. When she went under, she disappeared from view.
Her dad jumped in (yes, from the top) right in after her. (The fact that he didn’t kill himself with that jump was a miracle in itself. He did get banged up a bit.) He frantically felt around under the water trying to find her. He thinks it took him about 45 seconds to find her leg. He realized she was stuck under a rock. He managed to free her and bring her above the water. At his point however, he saw that she was not breathing and lifeless. They were also standing in rushing water so strong that it threatened to wash them away. He wedged himself between some rocks for stability and started to give her CPR while holding her in the water. (By another miracle, he’d been certified in CPR just 2 weeks ago.)
The CPR worked, and she started breathing. But now they were both in these rapids that were threatening to sweep them away. By now the rest of the family had gotten down to where they were and miraculously, there were some nurses hiking on the trail who came to help. They made a makeshift rope by tying their shirts together and pulled my granddaughter and son-in-law out.
Now they had to get her to a hospital. But there was no cell service in this remote area. Miraculously, 2 folks came by who were only there because their car had broken down. They were EMTs and they had a satellite phone! So they were able to call for an ambulance!
But due to their remote location, it would take over an hour for help to arrive. My granddaughter was conscious, but having a hard time remaining so. She was also unable to speak. At one point, they were having a hard time getting her to respond. The adults were all trying to get her to open her eyes with no luck. Her brother came to her and told her to open her eyes. And miraculously, her eyes popped open immediately!
When help finally arrived with a stretcher, they had to carry her down a rugged mountain trail for about a mile where the ambulance was waiting. They put a brace on her neck, and no one really knew if she was going to be ok. They got down the trail and got her in the ambulance.
They brought her to a local hospital. Upon examination, they put 8 stitches in her head and did a scan. They determined she needed to be taken to a Level One Trauma Center. The nearest one was in Denver, so Flight for Life took her in a helicopter. But there was no room for her parents, so they called my wife and I along with my son-on-law’s dad and asked us to be there when the helicopter arrived at the hospital.
We got there before the helicopter and waited. Finally, we saw the helicopter approaching to land on the roof. As soon as they had her in an emergency room bed they let us all back to see her. I didn’t know what to expect. But miraculously, when we walked in, there was by beautiful granddaughter! She was a little groggy, but awake. Not a scratch on her face, and she still had her beautiful hair! (Which apparently she had ordered the doctors to leave alone!) She laughed when I told her “You know there are easier ways to get a helicopter ride.” In fact, she was incredibly lucid considering what she had been through. And miraculously, she was now able to talk. She told us the helicopter ride was cool, and that the pilot was funny.
Her parents and brother arrived before long. They said it was the longest drive they’d ever experienced. Miraculously, there was no traffic. They are watching her in the ICU, but all indications are that she is doing fine.
We found out that people have died falling in that area. Between the fall and going underwater my granddaughter could have easily died. But the way my heroic son-in law jumped in (literally) to save her, and how so many miraculous pieces fell into place to allow her survival really made an impression on me. It seems to me the that God did not want this one to die that day, and he moved all the pieces into place to insure her survival.
Life is precious and fragile. Love the people in your life. There’s no guarantee that they will be there tomorrow no matter how much we take each other for granted.
Vince Madison
DAMTA President


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