The accident happened about a month ago, but emotions still run high for the Houchin family. Chris Houchin and his son Tyler, who both work for the Lorenzo Volunteer Fire Department, had just sat down to watch football when they got the page to respond to a major wreck. Little did they know, this one would hit a little too close to home. Tyler says, "We had a pretty good idea what we were going up against.. but nothing would ever prepare us for what we were about to see."
When Chris and Tyler got to the scene of the accident, their worst fears were confirmed. A disastrous collision with a tractor towing farm equipment left one man fighting for his life. That man was Wayland Houchin... Chris and Tyler's father and grandfather. Chris says, "The van was upside down. He was still in his seatbelt, hanging in the air. He was bleeding quite a bit."
Tyler says, "I yelled down in there and I said Grandad are you O.K.?. He was in there just talking away and that was the biggest relief of the night.. That he was still responsive."
It took the Jaws of Life to get Wayland out of his demolished minivan while Tyler and Chris stood by in astonishment. Chris says, "You got a job to do. You do your job and then after that's when you fall apart."
Now, nearly a month later, Wayland Houchin has made a full recovery. Tyler says, "He had a lot of people in Lorenzo praying for him and prayer really does change things." Prayer, though, was just part of what saved Wayland. If it wasn't for people like Chris and Tyler, Wayland may not have made it.
Tyler is humble about his role. He says, "All the thanks I need is he's still here with us and anything other than that is a bonus." In the meantime, Chris is one father who couldn't be more proud of his son. He explains, "When I was Chief years ago, he was 4 or 5-years-old.. He came to almost all fire meetings. They called him little chief and it's all he's ever wanted to do and he does a great job and he cares for people and he's going to be, he's already is a fantastic fireman."
The emotions of that fateful night still linger for Chris and Tyler, but a happy ending allows them to laugh a little about the man who told them to save oxygen and Aero Care for someone who really needed it. Wayland was also more worried about saving water, of all things, than getting help for himself. Chris describes what Wayland said to Tyler while he was still trapped inside his minivan. "He said "Tyler. I know you're busy, but I'm going to be all right would you run to the house and turn my water off?" Tyler laughed at the memory and added that he said, "Hang on time out. Let me go do that for ya."
Tyler is a senior in high school and is now taking night EMT classes through South Plains College. He and Chris both urge anyone who's interested to volunteer at the fire department. They need the extra help.