‘My first thought was, as a mamma, please God don’t take these boys’: 9-year-old reunites with Lee Co. first responders who saved his life

Published: Aug. 9, 2019 at 4:34 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A 9-year-old reunites with the first responders that saved his and his 4-month-old brother’s lives.

Margaret Yerby, 32, died in a car accident in June. She was driving a 2000 Jeep Cherokee when the single vehicle crash happened on Old Leesburg Road.

In the vehicle with her, were her sons Austen, 9, and 4-month-old Reese.

On Thursday, Austen and his family reunited with first responders to say thank you for all they did on that tragic day.

This was the first time Austen got to see some of the people who saved him and Reese.

“I’m excited, I didn’t know this was gonna happen today,” said Austen. “I’m happy I get to meet them. I knew this was the fire station and I knew that I was gonna get to meet everyone, but I didn’t think this was gonna be a surprise that my dad was telling me about.”

However, the reunion was not the biggest surprise for Austen because he “got to see the helicopter."

Austen’s family says he suffered a traumatic brain injury after the crash in June.
Austen’s family says he suffered a traumatic brain injury after the crash in June.

Austen was able to tour a similar helicopter that flew him to an Atlanta hospital after the crash. He also met the pilot that flew him to safety.

“What I wanna do, is I wanna give you [Austen] the actual wings off my chest. These are the wings that you get when you become a pilot,” said Air Evac Lifeteam Pilot Scott Smith.

Air Evac Lifeteam Pilot, Scott Smith says “what I wanna do, is I wanna give you (Austen) the...
Air Evac Lifeteam Pilot, Scott Smith says “what I wanna do, is I wanna give you (Austen) the actual wings off my chest."

Many more surprises were in store for Austen, including several more gifts from first responders and law enforcement.

Some of those gifts included a t-shirt that’s identical to those worn by local emergency responders and a 30-year-old Air Evac coin.

Some of those gifts included a t-shirt identical to those worn by local emergency responders...
Some of those gifts included a t-shirt identical to those worn by local emergency responders and a 30 year old Air Evac coin.

Austen’s family said he suffered a traumatic brain injury after the crash in June. His father said he still has trouble with speech and balance but is expected to make a full recovery.

Lee County Fire Emergency Services, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County E-911 and Air Evac 86 staff were there to see the Austen Thursday.

Before the event, Wendy O’lear, a first responder, opened up about the deadly vehicle crash. She was the first paramedic firefighter on the scene.

“My first thought was, as a mamma, please God don’t take these boys and then my second thought was all my medical training kicking in, what can I do to save him?" said O’lear. "It was a relief to hear baby Reese crying once we got him out of the car seat and to know that he was OK and then my full attention was strictly on Austen.”

O’lear said it was by far the worst scene she has worked in seven years.

On Thursday, O’lear reunited with Austen along with other first responders and law enforcement who were on the scene of the crash.

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