You often hear about the heroes – you know the ones that pull someone from a burning house or save the victim from an oncoming train – feats that are almost Superman-like in nature.
How often do you hear about the everyday heroes – the ones that help others at desperate times? There are lots of unsung heroes walking around unbeknownst to us. Recently, Melvin and Stacy Mitchell needed just such a hero.
Just a few weeks ago, on a nice Saturday, Melvin and Stacy Mitchell headed out to their business in Chester from their home in the Branders Bridge area.
“We were going to work just as we do every single day,” Melvin Mitchell said. “My wife Stacy just lost control of her arms and legs – she started having involuntary movements, a seizure.”
Mitchell panicked and pulled to the shoulder of the road. As quickly as he pulled over, Stacy had bitten her tongue and blood was gushing. “I was panicking and started riding the horn on the car and yelling out ‘help’ to people on the road.”
He said that several drivers kept on going. He was screaming for help and desperately trying to aid his wife. “Cars passed by us even though I was yelling out for assistance,” Mitchell said. He said he was feeling pretty “desperate and panicked.”
LaTasha Blackwell was at work on what she describes as a “nice, sunny and not too hot day” when the Mitchells rounded the turn on West Hundred Rd. She was doing the same job she does just about every Saturday morning. She was working her job with the postal service delivering mail.
Mitchell feels that Blackwell was just what the angels ordered. He feels she was right where she was supposed to be and God placed her in their path to help them in their time of great need.
“LaTasha was just fantastic,” Mitchell said. “She took control of the situation and called 911.” Blackwell says that was basically her role. “He pulled up beeping his horn in a panic and I called 911 and after that things happened so fast,” she explained.
The emergency team from Chesterfield County arrived pretty quickly and loaded Stacy into the ambulance. Mr. Mitchell said it was really a good thing they got there when they did. “After the ambulance drove about 15 feet Stacy had another seizure so it’s a good thing LaTasha was there to help us when she was or it could have been much worse,” he said.
Mitchell credits Blackwell’s quick thinking with saving his wife. “We could’ve been left alone on the road if not for LaTasha,” Mitchell said.
Blackwell doesn’t think she’s a hero at all. “I don’t see myself as a hero – I just did what he asked,” she said. “The rescue team got there quickly.” She believes her role was very minimal.
Mitchell says, no, her role was essential. “It was her quick thinking,” he said. “But more importantly, she was the one there who did the right thing.” Mitchell feels that sometimes we are not always complimentary of our support people and this is one wonderful example of a civil servant stepping forward to make a big difference.
Turns out Stacy had a history of seizures, but had not had one in more than 10 years and Mitchell had never been with her when she had one so he had not experienced what could have happened. He just wants Blackwell to know that what she did made a difference in their lives.
His message to Blackwell included his gratitude. “Thank you,” he said. “You have my deepest appreciation for helping me through this crisis.” The Mitchells run four Huntington Learning Centers in the area and he said he thought he “was unflappable and had seen just about all kinds of unusual things but this really unnerved me.”
It helps to know that each and every single person can be another person’s hero through an act as simple as making a phone call. If that phone call is what another person needs right then that is an act of bravery.
“Across Virginia and our country we need people in bad situations to find a positive lesson,” Mitchell said. “We can no longer expect the person behind us to be the hero, we are all part of this community and we all need to get involved now.”
Stacy said, “The biggest thing for me is knowing that God made a way, he filled that gap when I needed help and I hope we can pay it forward – we have a responsibility to do that, too.”
Blackwell was just glad to know that Stacy was alright. “I was just happy to find out that she was OK; just glad she’s OK.” Blackwell will go on delivering mail in the Chester and Enon areas like she does each day. For the Mitchell’s she’s a hero.
“We thank her because she was there when we needed her, she stopped when we were in great need and we love her for that,” Mitchell said. “We need more people like her in life and we thank her for the time she took with us.”
Blackwell is an everyday hero, one that steps forward and shows that we can all be heroes, we all have it within us to help others and be there for them in their time of need. Life has already returned to normal for these three individuals, and Blackwell will go on thinking her role was just a small one.
But then everyday heroes don’t think they are heroes, they just do what anyone would do, right? But several vehicles rode on by and LaTasha Blackwell stopped and helped. That’s what everyday heroes do, they just help because it’s the right thing to do.