Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
Tulsa VA Employee Saves Veteran’s Life
On October 23, 2017, David Messer, VA Motor Vehicle Operator, was performing his normal duties as a VA shuttle driver when he stopped at a crosswalk near the Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic in Tulsa.
Messer transports Veterans and VA staff back and forth from the clinic to off-site parking at Southwood Baptist Church.
“I was going over to the church to pick someone up and I noticed this man in a wheelchair crossing 41st Street," said Messer, who served a combined 33 years in the Marine Corps and National Guard. "So I stopped to let him go over and he got across."
A few minutes later, Messer was driving back to the Tulsa Clinic when he saw a wheelchair laying on the side of the road. Messer drove by and found the Veteran face down in water in a drainage ditch.
"I automatically parked the van I was in and ran down and lifted his head up out of the water," he said.
With his free hand, he called 911 and then contacted VA Police for assistance.
“The Veteran kept telling me, ‘I want to die. I want to die.’”, said Messer. “I told him, I’m not going to let you die. Not on our watch.”
Captain Anthony Jones, VA Police, quickly responded to the scene and stayed with Messer and the Veteran until the Tulsa Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) arrived.
"When the Fire Department got there, the two firefighters (Douglas Carner and Howard Whitehill) grabbed him from behind and I lifted his feet," said Messer. "We pulled him up the bank and got him back in the wheelchair."
EMSA then transported the Veteran to a Tulsa hospital for treatment.
Messer insists he was simply doing what anyone would do in the same situation.
“I wasn’t going to let someone die,” he said. “My first priority is taking care of people, especially our Veterans.”
Veterans Crisis Line
Confidential support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year through the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1) and online chat, and text (838255). You can also access resources and information anytime.
VA Employees, Tulsa Firefighters Honored Feb. 5
The Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System held an awards ceremony on Feb. 5 at the Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic in Tulsa to recognize and thank the VA employees and Tulsa Firefighters who responded on Oct. 23, 2017 and ultimately saved a Veteran's life.
Mark E. Morgan, Director, presented Certificates of Commendation to Captain Anthony Jones, VA Police, David Messer, VA Motor Vehicle Operator, Howard Whitehill, Tulsa Firefighter, and Douglas Carner, Tulsa Firefighter.