GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A local paramedic who was severely injured after a drunk driver crashed into his ambulance has returned to work.
Tim Hoffman, a critical care paramedic with American Medical Response, was injured in an August 2016 crash. His partner was also injured.
Hoffman, who’s spent the last 18 months battling back from the severe brain injury he suffered in the crash, says one of the best parts about coming back to work is getting dressed in the morning.
“I love my uniform. It feels nice,” he said.
Along with the uniform, it’s the comradery.
Being a first responder is unlike most careers. They see and experience things both good and tragic.
Those experiences help form a bond with co-workers that may be hard to understand for those not in the business.
“It’s just nice,” Hoffman said of being back among his fellow first responders. “They know what the job is like and how to do it and what I’ve been through most obviously.”
Hoffman doesn’t remember the crash. He was riding in the back of the rig when a drunk driver hit the ambulance on Blue Star Highway, south of Holland.
He and his partner were trapped in the mangled aftermath.
Suddenly, the men who’d been called to help in countless similar situations were themselves in need of rescue.
“I still have a long way to go. Still learning new things. Working on this and that,” said Hoffman, who returned to light duty at AMR Monday.
His eye sight isn’t 20/20 and his memory isn’t with is used to be. But his heart is right back where it belongs
“I’m just so happy to be here, I love being here,” he said.
The husband and father of a 2-and-a-half-year-old never gave up after the crash.
Hoffman says his faith in God kept him going, along with the unique DNA that drives most first responders.
“I love being able to help people,” Hoffman said. “Even if it’s just coming here and doing whatever needs to be done. I love putting the uniform on. Being here to help people do whatever needs to be done.”
Jeremy King, the driver who caused the crash, was sentenced to 2-5 years behind bars after he pleaded no contest to operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing incapacitation.