Submitted by Joe Boyle.
This world exploration style story comes to you in four parts. Click on any or all of the following links to access any parts previously published you may have missed.
- Westside Story – The Twilight Zone – Almost Dead In Deadhorse, Alaska – Part I
- Westside Story – The Twilight Zone – Almost Dead In Deadhorse, Alaska – Part II
- Westside Story – The Twilight Zone – Almost Dead In Deadhorse, Alaska – Part III
TWILIGHT ZONE SCENE 8
I told Crystal that while my words of thanks were sincere, I wanted to do more than a simple verbal “Thank you.” I call this a Level II Thanks. After all, Crystal saved my life. That is when I offered to send a check for $1,000 to be used any way she wanted including the charity of her choice. It quickly became evident that Crystal is a dedicated professional so I understood when Crystal turned down my offer. She did not want to benefit from my financial gift of thanks personally.
After her turndown, I redirected my conversation towards pure philanthropy. During our discussion regarding charitable contributions, I briefed her on my mother’s endowment called the Charles Wright Academy Phyllis M. Boyle Student Opportunity Fund. (Click the link for video of Phyllis Boyle’s heartwarming description, in her own words, as to why we established her endowment.)
I explained to Crystal that my mom had been an abused child. At age 12, while locked in the closet for the entire day, my mother pledged to herself that if she survived childhood, got married, and had children, she would never abuse her children. My mom, forced out of school in the 9th grade, kept her promise by breaking the child abuse chain. When she died at age 94, she left behind a legacy of eight people who, unlike her, never suffered child abuse and who were all provided excellent educational opportunities.
Crystal’s medical intervention which saved my life kept me from succumbing to the demands of the Grim Reaper on the darkest day of my life. To thank and honor Crystal for her efforts, I was inspired to celebrate the event by converting our life saving nurse-patient relationship into an effort to help others.
When I provided Crystal with a list of possibilities regarding what she could do with $1,000, I was mighty careful to not place any pressure or expectations upon her related to her decision as to how she would use the $1,000. After Crystal had time to think it over, she sent me a note which indicated while her favorite charity had historically been the Humane Society’s program for saving elephants, she liked the idea of helping children through my mother’s endowment.
Her decision impacted me with such heavy emotion, my wife and I decided to match the $1,000 we planned to send in Crystal’s honor by sending an additional $1,000 to the Phyllis M. Boyle Student Opportunity fund for a total of $2,000.
My next concern was the possibility that Crystal may have experienced a mental wrestling match. Kids, elephants? Kids, elephants? Kids, elephants? My wife and I decided to donate $500 in Crystal’s honor to the Humane Society’s program to save elephants.
Please understand that a big part of me actively resists publicly disclosing the news of our financial donations or gift giving because we do not want to appear to be braggadocio. My reason for sharing this information is I wish to lead by example and hopefully my example will motivate some readers to ask the following two questions should a similar personal circumstance or opportunity occur.
#1: “Should I be thanking someone, especially if that someone has performed a heroic task saving an adult or child from injury or death?”
#2: Even though my words of thanks are sincere, is there a way to further express my thanks by donating time and / or money to a cause that will make the world a better place?
TWILIGHT ZONE SCENE 9
As a part of my gift giving action plan, I sent a short email to Ms. Laura Rose, Development Director who helps me manage my mother’s endowment at Charles Wright Academy.
I sent a copy of my Laura Rose email to family members including my sister, Peg Morgan. Sending a copy to Peg triggered another Twilight Zone twist.
Unbeknownst to me after Peg received my email, she made a phone call to Sue Fessenden. Peg was slightly acquainted with Sue. I was not.
Sue, who studies family ancestry, confirmed with Peg that Crystal Fessenden, previously assumed to be a total stranger to me, is my cousin. Sue Boyle Fessenden helped us follow our family tree starting with my grandfather. Crystal’s birth name was Fessenden. To my way of thinking Crystal was, in part, put on the most desolate area of our planet to save her cousin Joe’s life.
In my 70+ years of public engagement including business and law enforcement, I have never seen or heard the name Fessenden.
So in Twilight Zone fashion a woman who was a total stranger to me, put herself in the right time and right place to save my life and as the story unfolded, she turned out to be my cousin.
TWILIGHT ZONE SCENE 10
On August 12, 2018, at 7:58 a.m. (about two months after my motorcycle crash near the Arctic Ocean), a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck 85 miles from Prudhoe Bay. Alaskan natives in the area reported the quake occurred at the exact time my BMW motorcycle fell back to earth.
While I might be a tempted to complain about having suffered a multitude of serious injuries, I prefer to focus on the real miracle that I am still alive and able to write one more Westside Story to share yet another of my death-defying life experiences.
In closing my four part story, I wish to say one more thank you to Cousin Nurse Crystal, Tom Canary, the MotoQuest staff, Chad McMurrer at Global Rescue, Providence Hospital staff, and Kjeri. Thanks to all of you. It is great being alive so that I can continue into my 4th quarter of life.
And with that, it is my hope I have convinced the Grim Reaper that a verbose, 75-year-old, whiskey-loving Irishman is hard to kill.
This is the story break for which you have been waiting. That’s it. There is no more story.
Ron Irwin says
Joe, that was a great story and if you can convince the Grim Reaper to spare the life of a whiskey-loving Irishman, put in a good word for a vodka loving Italian.
Joseph Boyle says
I will text the Grim Reaper and put in a good word for you. I know the Grim Reaper well enough that he gave me his private cell phone number. Of course, when he calls I always let his calls to to voice mail.
Joan Campion says
Your real life adventure has been more than interesting and inspirational. Now the unexpected twist finding a cousin previously unknown to you. Isn’t life interesting?
A Hapoy conclusion all around. You are still here and your life will continue.
I also enjoyed some familiar place names from our time in Alaska while stationed there a long time ago. None of the excitement you experienced but we did travel back to the lower 48 in December on the snow packed ALCAN with 4 small children. That was an adventure of a different kind.
GOOD HEALTH to you.
The prelude to your ride, written last spring, was the premise to determine and to compare the issues of rent control, cost of living etc between Dead Horse/Lakewood. When will that story be told? Where are the pictures offering insite to this metropolitan oasis.
Interesting reads as always and am glad you are healing. However, in the words of Paul Harvey. “and now, the rest of the story”.
Patti Lundgren says
Don Massie says
Interesting and entertaining read as usual. Glad to hear you are recovering nicely though as my memory serves part of the premise of your journey was to discover how living in Dead Horse compared to Lakewood/UP. Weather, cost of living, rent control, etc. come to mind. In the words of Paul Harvey “Now the rest of the story.”
Was so looking forward to seeing pictures of you in Dead Horse.
Blessings on your rescuers!
Jim Pelander says
Thank you for sharing your story! So glad you are still with us!