'I had tears in my eyes': Local first responders leave a lasting impression

Savannah Vasquez
From left; Deanna Berry, Lily Berry and EMS Heather Ward.

It was just another lazy late summer evening for Deanna Berry and her two school-age children Christian and Lily. Deanna was relaxing on the front porch as her children rode bikes in the driveway, but that is when she heard her daughter scream.

“My son was giving my daughter a ride on the back of my bike just in front of the house,” she said. “Somehow her foot got caught in the wheel and passed down through a metal bar, pinning her foot tightly between the bar and spokes of the bike wheel.”

Deanna and her neighbors quickly tried to free nine-year-old Lily from the bicycle, but her foot began to swell, and would not free from the wheel.

“Any move of the bike or the wheel had my daughter screaming,” Deanna said. “After failed attempts to help by kind neighbors I had met at that moment, I had to call 911.”

Okaloosa County Paramedics, Heather Ward and Marysa Kirby were first on the scene, and although they could not free Lily’s leg, they were able to offer comfort.

“They were super sympathetic and tried to calm Lily down,” said Deanna. “They stayed until the fire trucks arrived.

Deanna said the firefighters were able to cut Lily free and then as an added kindness, escorted the family to the hospital.

“They eventually cut her out of the bike by cutting through all of the spokes and the bar,” said Deanna. “They put her in a splint and put her in our car and when we got to the hospital one firefighter even went in and got a wheelchair and wheeled her into the hospital.”

Deanna told The Log that she was just blown away by the kindness of everyone involved in the accident, from her neighbors to first responders, she said she couldn’t be more grateful.

“We are just surrounded by people that are amazing,” she said. “Something that was very scary for all of us ended up wonderful because of the support throughout all of it.”

The story gets even better however, as Deanna said the night after the incident she was surprised to find a special gift had been left with her neighbor.

“When I got home a little after 11 at night I got a knock on the door,” she said. “It was my neighbor and he said the EMS ladies had left something for Lily. He went home and wheeled over a brand new purple mountain bike and immediately I had tears in my eyes.”

When asked how she felt throughout the ordeal, Lily described a range of emotions.

Nervous when she was stuck, scared when she was being freed, nervous once again at the hospital, but then she said overall she was just thankful.

“When they bought me the bike it made me really happy,” she said.

Lily and her mother brought thank-you notes and balloons to the firefighters and EMS ladies the next week and Lily said she made an extra special card for Ward and Kirby.

“I wrote, ‘Thank you for helping me. And thank you for the bike.’” Lily said.

As for Deanna, she has a new-found hope in humanity because of the response of everyone involved in the situation.

“As a single mom you feel so powerless,” she said. “My daughter was screaming, my son was so scared he wouldn’t come out of the house. But those two ladies were just the sweetest, gentlest, kind people; And then for them to bring that bike the next day was just over the top! The media is so saturated with bad stuff all the time, I just think it is good for the community to know what type of in the community we live in and that it’s still good.”