I guess I’m getting old, because I’ve caught myself looking more frequently at the obituaries section of the newspaper. Which is especially ridiculous, because I don’t know too many people in Maine! That said, I saw a really touching write-up on the front page of the Portland Press Herald that I wanted to share.
In 1998, Brett Thomas Cooper was working in northern Maine as a whitewater rafting guide when he came across a head-on crash on a back road.
He was an accomplished fly-fisherman, competitive skier, rock climber, kayaker, surfer and mountain biker, in addition to his later professional life as a surgical technician. “He lived a very full life,” said Christopher LaCasse, a friend since childhood.
Mr. Cooper, who was a wilderness emergency medical technician, used CPR to assist a woman who had been injured in the crash.
“She was badly hurt,” said Mr. Cooper’s mother, Carlene Cooper of Cape Elizabeth. “If it hadn’t been for Brett, she would have died, because it took an ambulance about 45 minutes to arrive.”
Now here is the amazing part. Thirteen years following the accident, the accident victim tried to locate her savior. They had not been in direct contact since the fateful day thirteen years before when she almost lost her life. She found Mr. Cooper via Facebook, and was distressed to learn that this active, vital man, only 34 years old, was now stricken with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Heather Richardson, the woman Mr. Cooper saved more than a decade ago, dropped everything, and became Brett Cooper’s personal caretaker in the final weeks of his life.
“Heather would say that Brett was her angel and that now it was her turn to be his angel,” said Mr. Cooper’s sister, Brooke Cooper of Portland.
His mother added, “He saved her life. She knew she couldn’t save his life, but she did what she could.”