EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — Years later, the victim of a crash on I-70 was able to reunite with the Illinois state trooper who had a lasting impact on his life.
ISP District 12 out of Effingham, Illinois detailed the story on its Facebook page Wednesday.
It all began with a letter.
“I’m sure in the long process of extracting me from that car and getting me to the hospitals, there were many people involved in helping me but only one, your officer, made such a huge impact on my future and my life,” an unnamed Pennsylvania man wrote in a letter to ISP.
In 1976, the man was just a teenager when he was involved in a one-vehicle crash near Effingham. During the commotion, his beloved German Shephard, Major, ran away.
Major turned up at a nearby campground, but was skittish to anyone who approached him.
The trooper was able to use the teen’s coat to comfort Major, and over the next four days, he fed and cared for the dog until family arrived.
Dist. 12 was able to track down the identity of the trooper who helped.
“After some digging, we were pleased to let the gentleman know we had found his Trooper,” the Facebook post announced, identifying the trooper as retired Dist. 12 Sgt. Z.
When approached with the story, Sgt. Z responded, “after all this time, I don’t remember people so well, but I never forget a dog.”
Sgt. Z was able to reconnect with the man from Pennsylvania to “reminisce about such an impactful series of events that happened so many years ago.”
“Just knowing his name is a great relief to me after all of these years of not knowing,” the man said.