LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) – A South Florida man had the opportunity to thank the first responders who came to his rescue when he drove into a canal in Lauderhill.
Nerosier Valcy said he barely has any memory of that night in early November, as Hurricane Eta swirled near the Sunshine State, when he had just enough time to dial 911.
“I am going to die! I am going to die!” he told the dispatcher.
Cellphone video captured the tense moments divers went into the water to search for the driver.
Valcy spent 20 days in the hospital, 12 of them in the intensive care unit.
On Monday evening, he was able to walk toward and meet the men who saved his life.
None of the Lauderhill Fire Rescue front-line workers knew he was there to surprise them on the same evening commissioners recognized them for their heroic efforts.
“Man, it was like goose bumps, and it definitely — tear ducts started to flow,” said Lauderhill Fire Rescue paramedic Justin Wells. “These are those rewarding moments that people will speak about.”
Valcy said he personally wanted to thank the first responders for their brave actions.
“I’m very thankful, first of all to God, and second of all to the firefighters and police officers who fought for me, and everyone else,” he said.
Valcy said he knows that without them, he wouldn’t have lived to see this day.
“Can you imagine when you stay under the water? I didn’t know for how long I was there,” he said.
For his rescuers, it all came down to training and teamwork during inclement conditions.
“There are many things going through your head, but you know, at the end of the day, you go back to your basic training,” said Lauderhill Fire Rescue driver engineer Michael Lombardi.
These dedicated paramedics said that seeing their former patient fully recovered makes it all worthwhile.
“To see him get up and walk toward us, it’s — we don’t usually get that,” said Wells.
Valcy said he has no doubt his faith also helped him through it.
“As I said, glory to God. Everybody said, not why, how I come [to survive],” he said. “In the hospital, they called me ‘the miracle guy.’ Some of them say lucky.”
Before the incident, Valcy said, he used a car for work. Now he doesn’t have a car and is forced to walk everywhere, but he stressed that he is thankful to be alive.
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