Monte Vineyard was at it again today. "I'm just what they call a hoseman," he said. A humble firefighter from Station 15, last name spelled out in reflective letters, helping two men escape the crushed aluminum cans they once called cars. Injuries, but nothing like last night.
"Dispatch said we had a rollover on 98th and Slide," he said. It was a parent's worst nightmare. A 16-year-old boy with a mangled leg. "He was in extreme pain," he said. A 17-year-old girl dazed and confused. "She was bleeding and had some serious damage," he said. And a 4-year-old boy, lifeless, but for the efforts of EMS. The boy's father asking Vineyard for news. "And he wanted to know how bad it was, and of course, you can't tell a father how bad it really is. You just say, 'We're working on him,' trying to stay calm and things like that," said Vineyard.
Patent but earnest efforts to soothe. To bring peace where there is none. A routine altered last night when the 4-year-old's father asked Vineyard for something different. "And he asked me if I would pray with him and I said sure," he said.
And there in the middle of a field, over the whir of a helicopter, down on his knees, firefighter Monte Vineyard, became Monte Vineyard, Dad. "I have kids as well, and I just put myself in his place and I just can't imagine how devastating he was feeling. He just kept saying, 'God, please don't take my son.,' Over and over, 'God, please don't take my son,'" he said.
4-year-old Lane Langdon was pronounced dead later that night at Covenant Medical Center. "Death is harsh no matter what, but it's different when its a kid," said Vineyard.
This afternoon, Vineyard was back at work. The brute force of fire fighting tempered with the memory of a prayer in the tall grass. Taking it, one day at a time. "No fatalities today, no sir," he said.