Good Samaritans at work: Pastor Ron Lee honors emergency workers

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• A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. •

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Switzerland Baptist Church pastor Ron Lee was on his way home to Madison on the evening of October 23rd when his pickup truck left the roadway, leaving him seriously injured.

After being airlifted to University Hospital in Louisville and spending two weeks in intensive care; Pastor Lee is back on the job; and on Sunday, December 14th, he took the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to all of those who helped him that night.

“We wanted to pay tribute to our EMS,” Ron Lee said. “Some of the church family, and also my family, felt like we needed to pay tribute to EMS, fire, law enforcement and the helicopter crew. Randy was able to pull that off.”

Switzerland County EMS Director Randy See worked with Ron Lee to bring all of the emergency personnel together who all worked together that night. All of them were honored during the Sunday morning service at Switzerland Baptist.

“Ron contacted me and said that he would like to do something for all the people who helped him out at the wreck,” Randy See said. “So we ran them down and we decided to give them a certificate of appreciation. His whole service was around that incident happening, and how thankful he was for all the emergency responders.”

Those honored included: Brian Morton and Joe Spilman of the Switzerland County Sheriff’s Department; Natalie James and Cathy Housemeyer with Switzerland County Dispatch; Air Methods helicopter crew Christopher Lockard, Timothy Dixon, and Joe Pendergrass; Katelynn Garvey, Trevor Humphrey, Vince Hernandez, Eric Dalrymple, Tim Jewell, John Roach, Billy Leap, Lewis Fritter, and Chris See of the Jeff-Craig Fire Department; and Lisa Clerkin, Chris Clerkin, Alex Paradise, and Stephanie Stewart of Switzerland County EMS.

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• Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ •

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“We just wanted to say ‘thank you’ for all of the service that they provide to the community,” Ron Lee said. “Thank you for the service that they give, because it’s selfless and sacrificial in some cases. They don’t get very much of that.”

Saying thank you especially hit home because Ron Lee is a former volunteer firefighter in Madison, so he knows firsthand the lengths emergency workers go to help and protect others.

“There was a time when we responded to a wreck on Deputy Pike, and it was a really dangerous situation,” Ron Lee remembered. “The car was upside down in a creek and there were kids trapped inside, and after we got everyone out the mother wondered why it took so long for us to get there. No one ever said thank you. You just don’t see those, so I thought maybe we ought to thank them, and do it in a church service so we could really make it more spiritual rather than just something we might do out on the street.”

Randy See brought certificates and awards for everyone involved that night, which Ron Lee personally presented to each person.

And the sermon?

The pastor’s text on Sunday came from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 7 – the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

“The Levite walked by on one side and the priest on the other side; but the Good Samaritan stopped and helped the man in need,” Ron Lee said. “I changed it a bit to say that the good EMT came by and helped the man. I just think as a community we ought to pay tribute to them once in awhile.”

“It was a very moving service,” Randy See said. “He tied it in to the Good Samaritan, and Ron compared the first responders to that chapter in Luke. It was just an amazing service, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”

Ron Lee said that the service was meaningful to everyone, but it especially struck the pilot of the helicopter and his crew, because before coming to Vevay on Sunday morning they had already been to the scene of another serious accident, helping another person that they didn’t know get the help that they needed.

“Coming off a wreck earlier that morning, they weren’t in any real mood to be there,” Randy See said of the helicopter crew. “They said that their hearts were blessed by being there, and they told me that they were very thankful to be present.”

The Air Methods helicopter that responded that night flies out of Frankfort, Kentucky.

“The pilot said that he hadn’t had a thank you that he could think of since he’d been on the flight crew,” Ron Lee said. “They just do the best they can. They’re just like everybody else in the community.”

“You could just see God’s hand in this whole thing,” Randy See said. “It was just amazing. All the little pieces of this puzzle that fit together and happened during his accident, were just amazing. Everybody in that church that morning was touched by the service. It was a wonderful thing.”

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• “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” •

(The parable of the Good Samaritan is quoted here. It is found in the Bible in Luke, chapter 10, verses 30-37).

– Pat Lanman