Ten years after injured by falling tree, Manoa woman meets param - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Ten years after injured by falling tree, Manoa woman meets paramedic who treated her

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Julia Engle was just ten years old when she was severely injured when a large tree fell into her Manoa bedroom in 2005.

Engle spoke publicly for the first time in March in a Hawaii News Now story that was also seen by Sonya Adams, a 15-year paramedic who is now the supervisor at the city's Emergency Medical Services station in Nanakuli.

"Every single paramedic has calls that they will just never, ever forget," said Adams. "And for sure, this is one of mine."

Adams was one of two emergency medical personnel who responded to the call from Engle's home, and transported the girl to the hospital. She said the huge tree had pinned Engle. "If the tree would have gone six inches to the left or right, she would have just maybe had a scrape, and maybe woke up. But you know, it was just right on her head. I was just amazed. How could this happen?" she said.

Part of the job of an emergency medical technician or paramedic is to stabilize a patient for transport to the hospital. But it's rare that they hear from those patients again. So Adams was thrilled when she saw that Engle is about to get a degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and that she's also into gymnastics.

"When I saw that she was graduating from college, I was just amazed. Amazed. And I wanted so bad to just give give her a hug."

So it was at the gym where on Thursday night, Engle and Adams reconnected. The two hugged, and then held hands for several minutes while talking.

"It's so nice to actually meet you now," Engle told Adams.

Engle chose the gym because she wanted to show Adams what she can do on the trampoline as the paramedic watched, beaming. Then Engle got Adams on the trampoline as well.

Adams knows that her actions that day a decade ago helped make this moment possible.

"I don't care if we gotta walk over power lines, we're going to get her to the hospital, and you know, it worked out so well for her."

Julia has no memory of that trip in the ambulance, but she'll always remember Adams. Or, as she knows her now, Auntie Sonya.

"Thank you," Engle told Adams. "I would not be here without you. Thank you."

The EMT who also treated Engle that day, Jason Lopez, is now a paramedic and firefighter with the Federal Fire Department. Lopez wasn't able to make it to the gym, but he will get to meet her as well Friday morning. That's when Gov. David Ige will declare EMS week, which begins May 17.

Previous story: Manoa woman keeps looking ahead 10 years after critical injuries from falling tree

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