City eyes annex of Oak Landing
By Becki Brantley
SEVEN POINTS—Residents of Oak Landing subdivision, as well as city
employees crowded city hall to find out whether the city of Seven Points
would annex them and if there would be pay raises for police officers.
The top agenda item was the first of three public hearings regarding the
annexation of Oak Landing.
Residents voiced their concerns about the process. Mayor Gerald Taylor
allowed all to be heard, without limitation to the usual three minutes.
Residents had held an informal polling to see if a majority wanted to be
included in the city. Most of their comments were directed at this vote.
“We’ve voted this four times now, and every time it’s been voted down.
Someone’s stuffed the ballot box, and I’m going to find out!” resident
Garland Mosier said.
“I don’t recall it going the way he (Mosier) said – it was a majority to
go city, and I was one of the ones to verify the proxy votes,” responded
resident Sarah Wright.
After the dust settled, city secretary Debbie Mosley informed those
present nothing was being decided tonight.
With two more hearings to go, on June 20 and July 11, Taylor told the
residents the city council will decide the matter after hearing their
“We don’t want to be your enemies, we want to be your brothers,” Taylor
stated. “If you are part of our community, our services such as animal
control, code compliance, trash, etc. will be extended to you.”
One of the major concerns of the residents was road maintenance.
Some wanted assurances the city would fund road materials, but the city
gave no such assurances.
“If you need help, we will help you in any way we can,” the mayor said.
“We can’t fill pot holes that you don’t want to spend the money to fill,
but if you have a dangerous situation, we can work something out to get
you taken care of, whether its helping you raise the money or supplying
labor and equipment if you supply the materials.”
“If we’re already reaping some of the benefits of the city, such as fire
and police services, why shouldn’t we be in the city?” asked citizen
In other business, the council:
• granted a new base salary for police officers of $12 per hour, and
dispatchers $9 per hour, with a .50 cent per hour raise for each after
the six-month probationary period.
• tabled a request by Mike Black to build an office, and park commercial
vehicles on his property.
At the heart of why we stand
By Jim McKee
Special to The Monitor
Editor’s note: Here’s a paramedic’s view at the scene of a tragic car
accident, involving children which occurred April 15.
Paramedics, firefighters, first responders and police officers cope with
constant exposure to trauma, sickness, pain, suffering, and the
emotional upheaval that often results in violence. This story attempts
to demonstrate how they keep their sanity even though witnessing so much
human misery and stupidity.
How do successful professionals spell relief? The nature of their
services, its long hours on duty and away from home, pulling 72-96-hour
weeks, brings stress on themselves and their families.
But the hardest of all is answering calls involving the most innocent
and vulnerable members of society, our children.
Emergencies involving children are dreaded most of all.
Children are supposed to be guarded from life’s dangers – away from the
turmoil created by adults who abandon reason and responsibility.
However, it is a sad fact that children are often swept away by choices
made by unthinking adults. Children have no choice but to suffer the
Healing the soul from the effects of these tragedies tests emergency
personnel to their very core, as they process through anger, bitterness
and utter disgust at the pain inflicted on the mangled bodies of these
Such was the nature of a call experienced this past April, a beautiful
day, the day before Easter Sunday. The call came just after one-thirty
in the afternoon.
Several of us were fully engaged in an Emergency Care Attendant class at
the Mabank Fire Department when the familiar radio tone signaled us to
Ironically, we had been discussing the emotional downside of delivering
emergency medical care. We examined the topics of death and grieving and
the need for watching out for each other.
The call was dispatched as a one-car rollover. Updates en route alerted
us to expect multiple victims, who had been ejected. And then our worst
fear was confirmed.
Children were involved.
Mabank Firefighter Mike Bass was the first to arrive on the scene. The
terror, the desperate tone in his voice will long be remembered. “We
have four ejected . .three of them are children. Send help!"
Every time Mike gave an update the news got worse. Our anxiety grew with
each report – the condition of the victims, the overall chaos at the
The way Mike kept his composure while “sizing up the scene” helped all
of us remain calm, and evaluate the resources that would be needed.
Requests for additional rescue and medical assistance went out.
We told Mike helicopters and additional EMS units were on the way, and
we were only a few minutes away. However, it seemed to take an eternity
to travel those eight miles.
The first thing we saw as we arrived was the overturned van, on the
wrong side of the road.
Adults were walking or running around, some screaming in sheer terror,
with horrific looks on their faces. Helplessness was the pervading
emotion. “Somebody do something!” came the desperate cry from nearby.
One adult was being pulled away, as Mike attempted to evaluate a child.
Mike walked up to my unit and told me he had found three children and
He pointed to one victim lying under several tree limbs brought to the
ground by the impact.
He told me of the mother lying near the front of the vehicle, and
another child near the rear. But where was the third, was she under the
I went around the back to the passenger side and found two adults with
the third girl.
Her name is Presley.
I knelt down to examine the girl, who was perhaps 4 or 5-years-old,
lying partially in the van, mostly out on the ground.
The impact had peeled the sliding passenger door back like a sardine
I could still hear the cries coming from the other side.
Mike had followed me around the van, I asked him to go make sure each
child was breathing and receiving basic life support, and to let me know
if I was needed.
I looked down at the motionless body before me. Only an occasional,
faint moan was heard.
For each of us - Mike Bass, Robbie Munden, Lupe Garza, Dameon Milton,
and Josh Jennings - the training kicked in. Those hours spent in the
classroom, the relentless drilling and reminders, “Stick with the basics
… airway … breathing … circulation,” served us well when every moment
was critical to those injured children.
Presley stopped breathing several times, before advanced life support (ALS)
arrived on scene. Initially, I was able to use a simple pocket mask to
breathe life back into her limp and broken body, keeping her oxygen
levels high enough to ward off brain damage.
The ALS team from East Texas Medical Center was the first to arrive and
take over care of one of the other girls with severe head trauma.
Someone told me her scalp had been peeled back. Her name is Gracee.
The second girl, Courtney, had massive facial injuries, and her eyes
were swollen shut.
We placed Presley onto a backboard and moved her from the ditch to the
roadway. Again, she stopped breathing … again the basics worked … but
soon continuous resuscitation was mandated, as Presley was unable to
breathe for herself.
At one point, I looked up and saw two men at her feet praying. I will
never forget their looks of desperation and anxiety, nor their cries
going up to the Great Physician. The two men were Presley’s father and
grandfather. Then Presley began to breathe on her own. I assisted her as
she struggled with each breath. I encouraged the two men to continue
praying. There was no doubt in my mind their prayers were working.
Other bodies began to emerge from the wreckage.
Bystanders, first responders and paramedics worked in unison, each
dedicated to one cause and one goal.
Each used their training and skills to reverse the horror that sought to
take away the life of those three young girls.
The driver of the van emerged and was taken to one of the two
Her condition stable, a shattered arm was her only injury. I could only
imagine what she was experiencing.
A PHI Air Medical helicopter arrived. The medical crew assisted me with
Presley’s breathing. There in the middle of Farm-to-Market 90 they
quickly administered the necessary rapid sequence intubation drugs and
placed a breathing tube into her small airway.
Her little body was now being fed the necessary oxygen it needed to
Two more helicopters from ETMC-EMS arrived and swept the two remaining
girls away. All three were taken to the best pediatric trauma center
available, Children’s Hospital in Dallas.
Slowly, the last patient, family member and bystander left the scene.
And we were left with questions, fears and hopes. What would be the
outcome? Would they survive? If they did survive, what kind of permanent
disability would they suffer? Why were the girls not wearing their seat
belts? Questions not soon answered.
The first responders stood together in front of our rescue unit and the
stories began to unfold and with them the shedding of tears. The raw
emotions were being allowed to surface.
It grew very quiet. I was numb. A whirlwind of feelings erupted – anger,
grief, confusion, denial and deep sorrow. Some of us just wanted to get
home and hug our wife and kids.
Mike was finding the whole situation difficult to comprehend, let alone
talk about. On the one hand, I had witnessed a miracle. On the other
hand, I knew that this day may also end in death and feelings of
futility. We finished cleaning up the scene and returned to the station,
hoping the rest of the night would be quiet and free of tragedy. We had
Information about the girls’ condition began to come in. Initial reports
were not promising. Two lay on the brink of death.
The next 48 to 72 hours would reveal whether our hopes or our fears
would be realized.
The next day, Easter Sunday, had a new purpose. Three little girls
needed what was to be celebrated worldwide that day – life.
We needed to hear of new beginnings, healing, and an understanding that
the worst of our fears could be swept away by faith and hope.
The only news from Dallas that day was more of the same.
A critical incident debriefing was set for Monday night. We gathered,
and for two hours, we talked.
We reviewed the incident, looking for areas in need of improvement,
understanding we had performed our skills.
We did the best we knew how to give each of those little girls a chance
to overcome death.
For each of us, it was a new beginning.
We would survive the emotional upheaval.
We also came to fully appreciate and cherish the bond we share as
firefighters, first responders and police officers.
The weeks that followed were a roller coaster of news and emotion.
Slowly but surely the good reports began to come from Dallas. Those
reports began to outweigh the bad. The girls had a long way to go, but
at least their conditions were improving. Days passed, hope grew.
A couple of weeks later, a photograph of three girls, lined up, standing
in front of their mom was displayed at the station. Each of those girls
was smiling. Some showed the scars of that tragic Saturday. Nonetheless
they were alive.
A few days later, the fire department received an invitation to attend a
victory celebration at the Liberty Missionary Baptist Church in Gun
Barrel City on Sunday, May 28.
I was told that the girls had been released from the hospital and would
be in attendance. That included Presley.
Dameon Milton, Mike Bass and his children were already at the church
when I arrived.
Annette, my wife and truly my greatest source of support was at my side.
We were greeted in the parking lot by a gentleman wearing a big smile.
He was the grandfather of one of the the girls.
We were escorted into the small, energy-packed auditorium and led to
reserved seats. “Thank you for what you do” were words floating up to us
from behind. Smiles and handshakes were freely distributed to us. The
heartfelt thanks were deeply appreciated and was some of the very best
medicine on our own emotional road to recovery from the tragedy.
There was another Person there that Sunday morning. His role in the
healing process is at the heart of why we stand on the front lines
against the daily onslaught of pain and suffering.
What began weeks earlier as a time of tragedy and potential mourning had
been reversed – maybe even redeemed.
The Great Physician was in attendance that dark Saturday afternoon.
I saw Him work through the training and commitment of those first
responders. And He never left the side of those three little girls.
The celebration service at Liberty Baptist Church began.
The sounds of praise were strong enough to lift the roof off any doubt
or uncertainty. We were there to celebrate Life.