While November often stirs up feelings of goodwill and excitement as the holidays are in full swing, for Cindy Brayman of Pelham, Alabama, it also brings up a specific, deep sense of gratitude for two men in particular.
Last November, Brayman was driving when she suffered a seizure. She doesn’t know what caused it, but she had been on the phone with her 9-year-old son when she lost consciousness.
Someone saw her car go rogue and crumple against a tree, and they called 911, according to a video from WIAT. Two officers responded, and when they saw how twisted the vehicle was, they didn’t hold out any hope for the driver.
“She rode parallel to I-65, the best we could tell there was no braking,” Officer Matt Harnden told WIAT. “She finally went airborne and hit a tree about 15 feet in the air — catching through her door, through the roof of the car, and then onto her.”
“When I saw the vehicle, and I’ve seen a lot of accidents in my career, I said, there’s no way anybody’s alive in that vehicle,” Sgt. Jeremy Eddy added. “It was just too mangled.”
They helped as the emergency team arrived, and were surprised that Brayman was still alive. Compelled by how she clung to life, the two officers wanted to know how things turned out for her.
“We’re just kind of left in the wind a lot of times,” Sgt. Eddy said. “We’re the person, sometimes the last person, that sees that person draw their last breath. It’s not supposed to affect us, because we’re police officers, but it does.”
“After doing this for over 20 years, it affects you when you don’t know. So when you come upon a situation like this, and you find out that the person is still fighting, you want to try to be a part of it.”
The Braymans and the two officers are now bound together, and on the year anniversary of the crash, Brayman wrote to the Pelham, Alabama, Police Department to recognize the two men’s efforts.
“These are the types of messages we love to receive and why we love this job,” the police department shared on Nov. 12. “Thank you to Cindy Brayman for writing this letter and following up with us a year after your wreck. We’re happy to hear you’re doing well!”
“On 11/09/18, I had a seizure while driving on I65,” Brayman’s message began. “I went down a extremely steep hill, hit a culvert, which catapulted me up 15 feet, slammed me into a tree on the roof of my car then slammed back down to earth. Officer Matt Harnden and Sgt. Jeremy Eddy responded to what appeared to be a fatal car accident. After confirmation I was alive but trapped in the car, the Jaws of Life were used to remove me, so I could receive life saving emergency assistance.
“During my time in the UAB ER, they stayed in contact with my husband, visited me, prayed over me while being a pillar of support and strength. After I was released from hospital and rehabilitation, they came by our home to check in on me. I just can’t say enough about the character of these men who serve and protect us. They both are kindhearted and honorable men.
“Thank you both…. you are my heroes, angels in uniform, and I’m so thankful for you both. God Bless you always!”
Brayman expressed her desire to have the focus be on the two heroes she now refers to as her “angels.”
“People need to know this, you know?” she told WIAT. “Yes, I had an accident. Yes, it was major. But there’s more to what they do than what they did for me. In my letter, I did say that they are my angels in uniform and that is the truth. That is what they are and what they will always be. They’re my heroes.”
“We were there that night for a reason,” Sgt. Eddy said. “Now she’s here for a reason. We don’t necessarily know what that reason it — that any of us are here, but I’m glad we could all figure it out together.”
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