EDITOR’S NOTE: Residents of Erath County are very fortunate to have many men and women who make living here safe, many of whom are volunteers. They are Hometown Heroes! These people keep us safe and we owe them our thanks and our respect. THANK YOU!
STEPHENVILLE (November 27, 2016) – The need for heroes often occurs at the most ordinary of times in the most ordinary of places. Earlier this month, two junior Tarleton nursing students – Ciera Mack and Maeve McFall – experienced this firsthand when they helped a girl who was having a seizure in the HEB parking lot.
“It was just a matter of good timing and knowing something looked off,” McFall said. “We did what was logical at the time.”
McFall and Mack had bought pizza for dinner at HEB and were heading to their car when they saw what they described as a “tense” situation with a teenage girl and her mother.
“We weren’t sure what was going on, so we just decided to wait and see if they needed help,” Mack said. “They were just standing there, and you could tell there wasn’t a whole lot of communication going on between the two.”
The two girls watched from their car until McFall decided to walk over and see if they needed help. Mack came over right after.
“I could just see the daughter starting to go down, so I hopped out and ran to the mom’s side,” Mack said.
The three women worked to put the girl into the backseat of the car where she would be out of harm’s way.
“The most important thing when someone is having a seizure is to get them to a place where they won’t hurt themselves while they’re having the seizure,” McFall said. “That was the only thing running through my mind – getting her somewhere safe.”
The nursing students waited in the car with the pair until the seizure passed.
“In a situation like that, it is the only thing you can do,” Mack said. “You can’t prevent it. You just have to let it pass, and that is what we did.”
Mack and McFall then left and went to McFall’s apartment to cook their pizza.
“We were cooking dinner, and we were like, ‘Wait, did that just happen?'” McFall said.
The two thought that was the end of it until they were telling their friends the story the next day, and someone told them the girl’s mother, Debra Hodges, was trying to find them.
“I want to thank the two student nurses from Tarleton who helped me with my daughter today,” Hodges wrote on Facebook. “She had a seizure in the HEB parking lot and they helped me keep her from hitting the ground and to get her in the car. I wish I had gotten their names, but I didn’t. They did an awesome job!”
In the comments, several people posted they would help Hodges find the two nursing students. The post was shared on a Tarleton nursing Facebook page, and the story began to spread.
“[A nursing professor] just came into our lab, gave us a high five and left,” Mack said.
Then a few days later, Tarleton president Dr. Dominic Dottavio interrupted their pharmacology class to present them with Core Values Coins.
“It was a complete surprise,” McFall said. “It felt good then, but it wasn’t until someone was telling me how big of a deal receiving a core values coin is and what it really means that I realized it really is a big deal the president chose to honor us.”
The two girls have an estimated year and a half before beginning their official jobs as nurses although one could say that their true career has already begun.
“I just felt proud to be a Tarleton student nurse and to be part of the program and to have the support of our peers and professors,” Mack said.