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Veteran gets a surprise he'll never forget

Posted at 5:52 PM, Nov 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-12 17:52:46-05

It was a special way to celebrate Veteran’s Day, one local vet thought he was going to support his son, but a surprise is waiting for him.

“These are the people that saved you. This is life flight and I know you wanted to meet them for a long time,” an event coordinator at the MetroHealth Veteran’s Day Breakfast said to Tim O’Connor as he made his way to the podium to hug and greet the Metro Life Flight team member.

“I was, I was really surprised,” O’Connor said.

Surprised to be reunited with the team that saved his life. Almost 10 years ago, there was an industrial explosion at O’Connor’s job in Twinsburg, three people were severely burned, and he was one of them.

“I was the last one to leave the plant, to go to the choppers,” he said recalling the accident.

The Metro Life Flight team took him to Akron to get treated for his burns, and it was that quick response that helped save his life.

“It’s amazing, I know time is of the essence, especially in a burn, and especially with the pain,” said O’Connor.

His son, Tim O’Connor Jr., who was deployed in Afghanistan with the Army at the time of the accident, was asked to speak at the Veterans Day breakfast Monday about supporting and honoring all vets.

“Our medical professionals understanding better what used to be shellshock, what is today’s post-traumatic stress syndrome,” O’Connor Jr. said as part of his speech.

There was no better way he could think of doing that than to honor his dad and the heroes that saved his life.

“He’s proud that they saved him, he likes to talk and share that story,” he said.

It’s the type of gratitude that was almost infectious the whole morning.

“Thank you, and life flight is so vital,” Tim O’Connor Sr. said.

Because of O’Connor’s positive experience, his other two children have become first responders, serving as paramedics.