'Noah is a fighter': GoFundMe started for Walton firefighter struck by car while rendering aid
SANTA ROSA BEACH — A GoFundMe account has been created to help financially support a South Walton Fire District firefighter and EMT in his “long road to recovery” after he was severely injured in a motor vehicle accident.
The page was launched by the South Walton Professional Firefighters Association Local 3516 about a week after Noah Collins was rear-ended on State Road 20 while on his way to work Nov. 29.
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After the crash, he immediately began to help people in the other car. While he was administering care, both vehicles were struck by a third vehicle, leaving Collins with traumatic head and leg injuries.
He was airlifted to a local trauma center, where he underwent multiple surgeries and was hospitalized for several days.
According to the SWFD, Collins began showing signs of improvement within 48 hours of the accident. However, the severity and long-term prognosis of his injuries were still unknown Monday.
All funds raised through the GoFundMe page will go directly to Collins and his family to help support him during his recovery in the weeks to come, according to the website.
“Noah is a fighter and we know he will get through this,” the GoFundMe organizers wrote on the website. “In the meantime, we would like to raise money to financially help him and his family through this tough time.”
As of Monday morning, more than half of the $20,000 goal had been raised, with 150 people contributing $10,535 in donations. To donate, visit https://gofund.me/422e0a85.
Collins and his family have received an “outpouring of support” from the community following news of the crash, the SWFD said.
Numerous people have visited Collins and his family at the hospital. Several neighboring first responder agencies also have reached out to show their support.
Members of the Fort Walton Beach Professional Firefighters Local 2601 and Chick-fil-A of Fort Walton Beach brought meals to the hospital.
“Thank you to each one of you who is lifting them up during this incredibly difficult time,” the SWFD said.
News of the accident hit close to home for many at the Walton County Fire Rescue who consider Collins, a former colleague, a close friend. The WCFR said in a Facebook post last week that the crash was one of several bad wrecks in the area recently.
"Please, please, please slow down, buckle up, and most importantly, keep your eyes on the road," the WCFR said. "Social media can wait, text messages can wait, phone calls can wait. Drive safe."