Williamsburg—On Oct. 31, 2012, Naomi Hetrick, of Richmond, was making a routine morning commute to Bluegrass Technical and Community College in Lexington, where she was studying social work. What seemed like an average day, quickly turned awry as Hetrick pulled out of the parking lot and was blindsided by another vehicle.
With a severely mangled car and her life on the line, it was divine intervention that saved Hetrick’s life.
“They said I died at the scene of the accident,” Hetrick said. “But thankfully, I was resuscitated by an ambulance nearby carrying a cancer patient.”
After being aided by the nearby ambulance, they awaited the arrival of another ambulance that rushed her to intensive care at University of Kentucky’s Medical Center. Months passed by while Hetrick lay in a comatose state. While the future of her physical body seemed to bleak, family and friends held on to what they knew was true spiritually, and that was that God was in control.
In April of 2013, she was relocated to Cardinal Hill to begin her therapy process in the Disorders of Consciousness Program. With a team of therapists, Hetrick was able to receive mental and physical stimulation to aid her recovery process.
“By summer I was using a walker and in late fall, I was only using a cane,” she said.
With the drive, grit and determination to get stronger each day, Hetrick not only wanted to improve her physical state, but she wanted to challenge herself mentally as well. Last spring, she enrolled in the School of Life Long Learning Program at University of the Cumberlands.
Steven Halsted of the Human Services Department said, “It was a dream of hers to be a social worker and help people. Now with the online program, she can continue following that dream.”
Hetrick acknowledged the impact that Halsted has had on her educationally. Through challenging his class with real life application scenarios, she stated, “He has been patient with me, given me so many pointers, and has taught me so much.”
Following her extended stay in the hospital, Hetrick still has plans to go into social work, but more specifically working in a hospital.
As much influence that Halsted has had on Hetrick, the same can be said about the influence that she has had on Halsted. Halsted noted the difference that Hetrick has made in the classroom as a whole.
From students praising her for being a source of encouragement in the classroom discussion boards, all the way to Halsted seeing classmates challenge themselves more because of her work ethic, Hetrick has been a light.
“She is a survivor and overcomer. I am humbled by her,” said Halsted. “I know she will do fantastic in whatever she decides to do.”
Although her physical and mental accomplishments could be credited to the EMTs in the ambulance on the accident scene, the therapists at Cardinal Hill, or Halsted in the classroom, it was Hetrick’s heart, determination and faith that allowed her to be the overcomer that she is.
“I know that God is going to accomplish His plan and His plan is perfect. I may not understand it but Romans 8:28 tells me that it’s for my good,” stated Hetrick, who attends Tates Creek Baptist Church in Lexington.
“I know that one day I will be thanking Him for an eternity, and I figure I might as well be thanking Him now,” she said. (UC)