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Life Changing Training

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Editor’s Note: After the Christmas bombing in Nashville, Tennessee this story highlights the importance of being prepared because we never know when or where the next bombing or other attack will take place.

By FASTER Saves Lives Student & Boston Bombing survivor

On April 15th, 2013 my family and I stood less than one block away as two bombs detonated in a cowardly terrorist attack.  Fifty minutes earlier, a family member and I were standing well within the shrapnel range of where the first bomb detonated.  We had unknowingly passed the future first bomb site multiple times trying to find a good spot to spectate.  

My wife and her sister had completed their first Boston Marathon around 50 minutes before the first bomb exploded.  Had we stayed at the finish, we may have been injured, but for sure would have been in the presence of those injured and/or killed.  

We felt, heard, and listened in confusion as the roar echoed between the buildings at a meeting area near the finish line. We were evacuated toward the Boston Commons. Not understanding what just happened, we saw the news of the bombings on a TV screen in a fast food restaurant. As we were exiting the area, first responders started pouring in.

Since 2013, I never found peace with “thank God you weren’t there when they went off” as many expressed to us.  Instead, I battled personally, “had I still been there when the bomb exploded, what would I have done?  I wouldn’t have known what to do.”  I was ashamed of this.  I watched on the news for weeks as those much closer to the attack took immediate action and began helping and saving lives, but most incredibly keeping their cool as if they were placed there by God to be the heroes these victims needed.  Although I like to think I would have helped, I most likely would have been more of a liability than an asset.  

The 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings stuck with me for years, and I vowed if I were ever in a position to help, I would do so God forbid the worst ever happen again.  Having sought various forms of training since then, in summer 2020, I signed up for “FASTER Saves Lives” training through Buckeye Firearms Foundation conducted at Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) in West Union, Ohio.  The training was both mentally and physically grueling, but the incredible instructors at TDI, with instructors present from the Faster program, T&K Armory of South Point, and Cerino Consulting and Training group, we were taught extensive weapons training, how to assess dangerous scenarios, neutralize threats, but most importantly for me, how to apply on-the-spot trauma care and treatment for severely wounded victims.  

The completion and passing of this training was an emotional reward for me to be better prepared if the worst ever occurs again.  I pray you never find yourself in a dangerous situation.  It isn’t like the movies.  You will not react how you think you will.  However, if you wish to learn how you “will” react, and be coached by the best instructors on how you “should” react, TDI will prepare you for the dangers you hope never to encounter.  TDI also gave me the education and confidence needed to assure that if the worst were ever to occur again, I would be able to fight back, I would be there to help, and I’d know exactly what to do until first responders arrive.  

Thank you to Faster Saves Lives, Buckeye Firearms Foundation, T&K Armory of South Point, Cerino Consulting And Training Group, and finally Tactical Defense Institute for forever changing my life.  Please support and back these organizations.  The number of lives they’ve saved, or will save with their training is limitless as long they are able to continue doing what they do.  

Editor’s end note. I am frequently awe struck by the people schools and churches send to our training classes. Their stories and their courage are inspiring. I’ve heard many times that we have “changed their life.” That is the goal, and in the process they have changed ours too. Most importantly, they have changed the lives of those they have saved with the medical skills and tools acquired in our classes. The ripple effect of family and friends of those saves is immeasurable. It is an honor for each of us to work with those volunteering to protect others and to assist the world-class instructors we hire to train our nation’s school and church staff.

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