Everyday Hero: Rachel Coleman

Everyday Hero: Rachel Coleman

"Good morning office of chief of police. This is Rachel. How may I help you?"

What may sound like a typical greeting to many is just how Rachel Coleman chooses to approach to life: asking where and how she can give help.

"If we can give, then it's better to give something than receive, when you're not in need," Coleman said.

It's a lesson she teaches her three children, and one she lives by spearheading the volunteer efforts at the Jackson Police Department.

"I took the reins, I guess you can say on the toy drive for several years now and it's bigger and bigger every year," she said.

The Jackson Police Department toy drive benefits hundreds of local families every year during Christmas.

"It's a blessing," Coleman said. "I know there's several times that people come in and leave in tears. I understand. I was a single mom for several years."

But her organizing efforts don't stop there.

She also heads up the annual golf scramble, with some proceeds going toward departmental needs and the rest benefiting a charity of their choice.

Given Coleman's welcoming personality and giving spirit, it's easy to assume life has been easy for her.

But then, you'd be wrong.

"I was getting ready to go to work at the police department and she just fell backward and my dad yelled for me to come in here," she said. "She was ash gray and wasn't breathing."

In November 2014, Coleman's mom went into cardiac arrest on their kitchen floor.

And living out in the country, she knew first responders wouldn't be there soon enough.

"I don't know how I kept my composure I think it's just I knew it had to be done and I knew it needed to be done right then and there," she said.

For 15 minutes, she performed C-P-R on her mom.

"I think I just disassociated that mother-daughter connection. I remember I was upset and kept apologizing."

As Coleman's mother put it, she'd be dead if it weren't for her daughter.

That's enough tragedy for one family to go through, but their luck was about to get worse.

"I got a phone call from a stranger and a number I didn't know," Coleman said. "And she said my name is Stephanie. I'm a nurse."

It's a call that changed everything.

April 7th of last year, Coleman's husband was on his way to work when he got in a car accident.

"When I got there I saw the lights and the sirens and everything and I just jumped out of the moving vehicle, trying to find out what was going on," she said.

He was airlifted to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis where doctors performed emergency surgery.

The impact shattered his L1 vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

"We were blessed because he's still here and my kids still have their dad."

The silver lining in what was a life altering series of events?

While both her mother and husband could be gone, they're still here, patched up and making it work.

"I think that's just kind of pushed me more to help as many people as we can," she said.

For Coleman, experiencing the worst of life makes the best of it, a blessing, in ways.

"Because when your life gets flipped upside down in 24 hours and your whole life changes, it really makes you look at life in a whole new perspective."

 If you know of an everyday hero in your life, please let us know.
Just click here to make your nomination.
We'll profile an Everyday Hero each month on Heartland News and all of our heroes will be honored at the annual Red Cross recognition luncheon.

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