With Thursday being the 7th anniversary of September 11th, Lubbock's Red Cross is honoring some very special heroes in the Hub City. We're honoring them as well by telling their stories.
It was a sunny Father's Day in June of 2006. Many people gathered at Buffalo Springs Lake to watch the boat races. Dr. Ron Cook was off work enjoying the day with his son, but little did he know this lake would soon turn into an emergency room. "All of a sudden we saw this boat hit, go straight up in the air turn upside down hit the water upside down and then when it bounced it flipped over and landed upright," said Cook.
Mark Stargel, 18, a volunteer with the races, was near the shore on a jet ski when a boat going more than 100 miles per hour, lost control and collided with his jet ski. Dr. Cook ran to the scene. "They were lifting him out of the water, when I had arrived to that side of the lake and he was conscious and I saw that he was conscious which just amazed me that he was awake," said Cook.
Mark tragically lost his left leg in the accident. "I immediately pulled off my belt and tied it just right above his knee to cut off the bleeding so he wouldn't bleed out," said Cook.
But Dr. Cook doesn't consider himself any sort of hero. "I don't think I did anything different than what anybody else would have done anyway," said Cook.
Mark's parents say they are proud of their son and the strength he showed even on the day of the accident. "My son was lying in the back of the pickup bed and he grabbed my arm and said dad I'm going to be ok," said Bob Stargel.
Two years later Nancy and Bob Stargel say he is doing just fine. He got a prosthetic leg three months after the accident. Today mark is just your typical college student at the University of North Texas studying Radio/TV. "He's ok today, the Lord has taken care of him and we just ask that everyone that is willing to help someone else, that they will help someone else and reach out to other people," said Mr. Stargel.
"Mark is a really neat guy, very fortunate, but like I said it's not my doing it was God's hand that had everybody there at the right moment because he could have easily died," said Cook.
Nancy says Mark has a message for Dr. Cook. "He said Dr. Cook is very humble and Mark says I really like him and he says Dr. Cook, I owe you a belt," said Mrs. Stargel.
The Stargels say they couldn't be more thankful for Dr. Cook that day. "Dr. Cook thank you so much for helping our son that day and be willing to give first aid to him and still being a friend to him and we appreciate you and we will always be eternally grateful for you helping our son live," said Mrs. Stargel.
"We just ask that he be blessed. He was a blessing and I'm sure he's been a blessing to many other people," said Mr. Stargel. "Dr. Cook is a hero very much so," said Mrs. Stargel.
Dr. Cook is just one of five people being profiled this week on NewsChannel 11 leading up to September 11th, and these five will be recognized Thursday at a special Red Cross Champion's Breakfast. The Champions Breakfast has been moved to AeroCare at the airport, and kicks off at 7:30 a.m. The cost to attend is $25 per ticket. To reserve yours call the Red Cross chapter office at 765-8534.