Don & Pam Jorgensen meet and thank first responders after motorcycle crash

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s been four months since Don Jorgensen and his wife Pam were in a Memorial Day motorcycle crash where they both broke their left legs.

Now that they’re mobile again, they set out to meet the people who helped start their road to recovery.

“I did the initial assessments,” Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Firefighter Riley McManus said. “I came to you (Don) first and you were better off than you (Pam) were.”

For the first time since the crash, Don and Pam were able to go over the details of what happened with the first responders who were on the scene.

“We have a list a trauma assessment we go down, rapid trauma assessment, you didn’t hit any major ones,” McManus said to Don. 

The firefighters all remember Pam being much worse off than Don after that first assessment.

“As I walked by to get from one spot to another, I glanced down at your leg and I took a double take,” one firefighter said. “It was not a normal broken leg.”

Pam said she remember trying to move out of the street, but a nurse working at the Avera Clinic on the corner of 69th & Western had come out to help when she saw the crash and told her not to move because her leg was broken.

“You looked over at me and  said, ‘Do you think I’m gonna be able to golf with my sister this weekend?’ I said no mam, no you won’t be able to,” McManus said. 

From the humorous moments to the more serious situations, Don and Pam were thankful to learn more about of what happened at the scene that day.

“The reason we came up here was to say thank you and just to put a face to the uniforms,” Don said. 
But there was a bigger purpose behind this meeting for both parities.

“Thanks for making our Memorial Day memorable, we appreciate all you do and all that you did for us that day,” Don and Pam wrote in a thank you card to the first responders. 

While the card and gift meant a lot to the firefighters, they say its also very special to find out what happened to the patients they helped at a scene.

“Very seldom do we get to… Due to HIPPA rules, a lot of stuff can’t be released,” Captain Trent Boe said. 

Sometimes firefighters are able to find out some details after working a certain scene, but other times, they do everything they can to help without any idea of the outcome.

“Normally you do your job and you pass it to the next group,” McManus said. 

“I hate to say it but sometimes we look at obits just to see if that person is in there,” Boe said. 

It’s why happy meetings like the one with Don and Pam mean so much.

“Last time we saw them they were down on the ground needing help,” Boe said. ” It’s nice to actually see them out and about enjoying life again.

The greatest thank you is being able to see the reward of their work in person.

“It means a lot to us to see them get out of their pick up and see them walk up to the front door,” Boe said. “Nice to see you out and about now, even though you’re probably not playing golf yet.”

Don said their doctors say it will be a full year before Pam will be fully recovered. Both of them are still in physical therapy twice a week. 

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