Chaplain recognized as a hero

By Sarah Stoll
Hilltop Times Correspondent
April 10, 2014

 

On Thursday, March 20, the American Red Cross Utah Region, held their 2014 Northern Utah Heroes Recognition Event in Ogden. Hill Air Force Base Chaplain (Capt.) Lukas Counterman was honored at this event for his heroic efforts during a car accident last year.

While traveling in Atlanta last year, Counterman “encountered an automobile accident … His quick action and response saved the life of a man who was trapped face down in mud under his overturned SUV. By enlisting the help of others, the vehicle was moved enough so that Lukas could pull the man free.” Counterman described the situation as a miracle: “it was almost 3 a.m., in the pouring down rain, standing in pooled water and mud with a man half-ejected from his SUV and it pinning him face-down to the ground. I knew that if we didn’t do something right then, this man was going to die. I’m not sure how we were able to move the vehicle enough to pull him out, but I’m a Chaplain and I’m convinced that miracles still happen.”

Counterman started off his day with a delayed flight, and was arriving at his final destination in the early morning hours. He was “frustrated and tired” but had he not experienced these trials, and although he didn’t understand them at the time, the man he rescued may not be alive today had he not been there.

According to the Red Cross webpage, the Heroes’ Recognition Event “recognizes and honors outstanding individuals or groups in the state of Utah that have demonstrated extraordinary courage, compassion, and service.”

The event was held in Browning Theater, in the Ogden Union Station, where guests enjoyed a luncheon, the awards presentation, and a program by the Red Cross. Kim Johnson, of ABC 4 Utah, served as the Master of Ceremonies of this event. Chaplain Counterman described the event as “really special. Stephanie Christiansen, the development director of the Northern Utah Red Cross did a wonderful job honoring what’s honorable and praising what’s praiseworthy.” Eight awards were given to people throughout the Utah community, and during the program these Heroes’ “contributions came to life. Heartwarming stories unfold[ed] as the audience watch[ed] video interviews that [told] the story of each Hero.” When asked about receiving his award, Counterman commented: “I felt honored and humbled to receive this award. I don’t think I’m a hero. I was just providentially at the right place when someone was in need. I think acts of heroism occur when people believe in something and it outweighs their fear in the moment. I believe in the value of life and that each person is unique and special to God. That deep rooted value pushed me and the other men involved in the rescue to overcome our fears and inhibitions.”

The man who Counterman saved has made a remarkable, and difficult, recovery, but Counterman recently had lunch with him and noted he “is back to work and has a new lease on life. While we were eating, I asked him, ‘For a guy like you who has kissed death, what does it mean to be alive today? What did you learn from that traumatic experience?’ He stopped eating, looked me in the eyes, and said ‘I know that God has a plan for my life now.’ Sometimes death (or near death) becomes the lens through which we get our clearest vision of how to live.”

For more information about the American Red Cross Utah Region Heroes Events, please see their webpage at: http://www.redcross.org/news/event/ut/ogden/2014-Northern-Utah-Heroes-Re....

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