Wisconsin couple find true hospitality in Troy
Published 7:26 pm Wednesday, June 18, 2014
When looking for a definition of true Southern hospitality, Troy, Alabama, will point the way for Bruce and Bernie Hanson.
The Hansons had travelled more than 400,000 miles and more than 49 states with only a few issues before arriving in Pike County on May 30.
The Madison, Wisconsin, couple was traveling south on busy U.S. Highway 231 just inside the Brundidge city limit. When they topped the hill, a stalled vehicle was in their lane.
“I made 10 decisions in a half second,” Bruce Hanson said. “But I hit the brake too hard and it locked and that was it. The next thing I remember, I was sliding feet first and face down on the pavement. And, I remember praying, ‘God, help us.’”
Bernie Hanson was thrown onto the right lane of the highway. Her first awareness was of rolling around on the steaming, hot pavement.
Knowing she has survived the accident, she looked desperately for her husband.
“I saw him lying in the middle of the highway and his face was covered with blood,” Bernie said. “I knew he was seriously hurt.”
The Hansons said an Alabama State Trooper arrived on the scene almost immediately.
“He must have been hiding nearby waiting to pull someone over,” Bernie said, laughing. “What was so amazing was the number of people who stopped to help us and they all knew what to do. They kept telling us not to move, to keep our helmets on. All of the right things.”
The Hansons said the ambulance arrived “in no time” and they were transported to Troy Regional Medical Center.
Bernie’s injuries were not superficial, with severe scraps on her hands and stomach. But Bruce’s condition was very serious. In the emergency room, there was some discussion as to whether he should be transported to another hospital.
“I heard the ER doctor say, ‘We don’t have time. We’ve got to do it!’ And, I asked if they were talking about me,” Bruce said.
In addition to a ruptured spleen, Bruce had nine broken ribs, a broken collarbone and shoulder blade and bruised lungs.
“But I was blessed,” Bruce said. “We were told that the semi that was behind me came to a stop about 15 feet from where I was lying on the highway. That man was a hell of a driver. God was watching us and, on Highway 231 that day, he gave us His undivided attention.”
During the next 17 days, Bruce Hanson also got the undivided attention of the staff at TRMC. He visited the ER, surgery, ICU, radiology, the hospital lab and rehab. He was in a private room and a swing bed. And, through it all, he received the utmost care and genuine caring.
“The staff here has been wonderful,” Bernie said. “They are super people. We call them angels.”
Bruce said the staff just “couldn’t do enough for us.”
“They were always asking if they could get us something or do something for us,” he said.
“It was unbelievable. They have such a wonderful attitude. Here it’s like one big family and they made us a part of it.”
But it was not just the medical staff and employees at TRMC that adopted the Hansons.
“We can’t begin to thank all of those who did so much for us,” Bernie said. “People brought us food and flowers and gifts. They washed our clothes for us. They prayed for us, and we certainly believe in the power of prayer. People have been so good to us. If we had to have an accident like that, we are glad that we landed in Troy, Alabama.”
The Hansons checked out of TRMC Tuesday afternoon. Bruce said the ride south on Highway 231 was his last motorcycle ride. And, it was one he’ll never forget. Neither will he nor his wife ever forget the generosity of the people of Troy.
“We will forever thankful,” he said. “We were blessed by being here. The definition of true Southern hospitality is Troy, Alabama.”