Life can change in an instant. And for Amanda Kloehr, a then 20-year-old Air Force Airman, her life changed while driving down the Eastern Shore to visit friends at Ft. Eustis Naval Base in Newport News.
She was restless during the long drive from New Jersey and was trying to keep herself occupied. Amanda isn’t sure what she was doing - texting, using the GPS or simply not paying attention - when she slammed into the back of a stopped tractor trailer. Her face hit the forklift on the back of the truck, and her car nearly was crushed flat when it slid underneath pushing the tractor trailer six feet forward.
“The first patrol officer on the scene said it was the most gruesome accident he had witnessed in over 20 years on the job. As he got out of the car, he saw the blood covering the road. Thinking there was no chance I could have survived, he began walking back to pull the body bag out of his trunk when he suddenly heard my screams. He later told me he did the only two things he could think of to help me: call for the Nightingale because an ambulance could never get me to the hospital fast enough and he prayed.”
As soon as Nightingale arrived, Amanda was sedated and rushed to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where she stayed for more than a month. The accident was nearly fatal. After a medically induced week-long coma, more than 20 surgeries, the loss of her right eye, a snapped ankle and major facial reconstruction including 36 plates and 48 screws in the right side of her face, Amanda was just grateful to have survived the horrific crash.
It took Amanda more than a year to learn to walk again. She now has a prosthetic right eye and is still recovering daily, but she is alive. Without your generous contributions to the Nightingale, severe traumas, like Amanda’s, would have a very different ending. Amanda is now retired from the Air Force and works to raise awareness against distracted driving.
“I truly cannot thank you all enough for supporting this incredible service. This could easily be your loved one, family member or friend. I have dedicated my life now to raising awareness of distracted driving so others, who may not be lucky enough to have a service like Nightingale in their community to save them, don’t make my mistake and lose their life. I have been given a second chance at life, thanks to you.”