The Pleasant Farm

Life & Family

Dear Trent & Tyson (Daddy is a Hero), March 17, 2017

Filed under: Family — Jess Z. @ 5:47 pm
Tags: , ,


Dear Trent & Tyson,

Whoa.  To say the last two days have been a whirlwind would be a ginormous understatement.  I don’t know how much you can understand at your ages, so in true form, I’d like to write you a letter that just might stay with you forever.  And maybe someday you’ll have a better realization of what the recent events have meant for your daddy… and for you.


Here’s a nutshell, since I plan to include all the official reports in your scrapbooks for this year.  Your daddy was working on the ambulance (we visited him earlier that day; you played hide-and-seek and weren’t ready to go home for naps when I was) and got a call at 5:30 the next morning, before his shift would have ended at 7.  A car was seen driving into Silver Lake, and the ambulance crews and fire department were dispatched along with the police officers.  Your daddy spent the ride out to the scene emptying his pockets: phone, wallet, chapstick, keys.  Because he was ready to go in if he had to.

The police officers on scene verified that there was in fact a car in the water, headlights on.  So while Daddy’s partner handled the scene and radio traffic on land, Daddy jumped into the 46-degree water with just his pants on (oh yeah, and the air temperature was in the 20’s).  When he got to the car, he found an unresponsive 3-month-old baby boy, pulled him out of the vehicle and got onto the roof.  There, he performed CPR, wishing and praying the fire department was nearly on scene to rush to their assistance with cold water suits in a boat.  But, when he found out they’d been delayed by a train, he did what he had to do—jumped back into the water, swimming backwards while holding that baby above the water, and handed him over to his partner and the police officers on the shore.  That baby has already been released from the hospital in great health.

So, as you can imagine, there’s a lot of people who are excited over the fact that your daddy very honestly saved that baby’s life.  He was given the terrible circumstances of darkness and cold, oh yeah and being in a lake, and managed to literally save a life.  Turns out, the story has spread quite like wildfire.  Trent answered the door yesterday to a very well known news reporter from St. Louis, while Tyson stood smiling in his underwear.  Then we found out it had even made the Washington Post and led a congressman to give a speech and order a flag to be flown over the U.S. Capitol today.  Is this all really happening?  I don’t even know yet what tomorrow will bring!


You are his sons.  Those are the shoes you will spend your lives trying to fill.  What do I want you to know?

I want you to know that before most people have a huge success, there’s so much work and commitment that goes into it first that people don’t even realize.  Yes, your dad did a very heroic thing yesterday.  But he loves his job, and makes sure he is always prepared for the worst of circumstances by studying and learning from those around him.  He also takes his fitness level very seriously, not by bragging about how many pull-ups he’s done or miles he’s logged on his last run, but by proving that he’s not only willing to put himself in a risky situation but physically strong enough to almost guarantee a positive outcome (because let’s be honest, there’s no guarantees).  He always makes sure to work as a team, the first to say that he didn’t want to do any interviews unless his partner was there with him.  He’s more prepared than most for the unexpected, which is why anyone in this little town who knows him also knew “it had to be Todd” when they heard there was a local paramedic who performed heroic actions during an unfortunate situation.  Because yes—of course it was Todd.  Not because he worked a miracle— he prepares himself daily to perform the most difficult tasks in difficult situations— but because he miraculously was in the right place at the right time, with the right skills and strength to see the incident through.

So know this.  You don’t have to pull an unresponsive baby out of a submerged car and then resuscitate the baby to be a hero.  You have to find something you’re passionate about, work hard daily to be the best at that job, and be prepared to be under-recognized for your efforts.  Maybe even for years.  And when people don’t always see how hard you work or note your dedication, do it all over again the next day anyway.

Always remember to keep your team close to you.  Keep up the good communication and always have each other’s backs.

Ignore the people who criticize you, whether it’s because they don’t understand your level of commitment or if it might be because they don’t think they could measure up.  Their opinions are not of any importance, nor should they change the direction of your goals.


Our community, the reporters, and everyone else who hears this story are calling Daddy a hero.  And he’s saying “I’m not a hero, I was just doing my job.”  So do you want to follow in your daddy’s footsteps?  Be a rockstar at your job, whatever may be your passion, every stinking day.  And when all that hard work pays off with a big reward, be so humble and modest to truthfully say you were just performing for what you’ve prepared for.  You might be a farmer, or a teacher or architect or engineer or train engineer, you might be a construction worker or firefighter or banker—work hard, prepare for every situation, and then be a hero.

And you will be filling those very large shoes, filled by a man who loves you so very much and is an amazing role model of selflessness, bravery, and strength.





29 Responses to “Dear Trent & Tyson (Daddy is a Hero),”

  1. Shannon K Says:

    What a truly wonderful message! Love your note Mommy😊

  2. Kristi Egnot Says:

    Wow…just wow

  3. Their dad is a hero, even if it’s unwanted attention. He was the right man in the right position to save that baby. Don’t even pretend that any person, and I’m a 1st responder myself, would jump into a cold lake on a still dark morning even if they’d known for sure there was a baby in the car. I want to believe they all would have, and I’m pretty sure I would have, but your husband did, and he deserves all the praise in the world. Tell him to accept the accolades, because he deserves them all. Tell him thank you for his service, and thank you for being his wife. The families of 1st responders are unsung heroes in their own rights for sure.

    • Jess Z. Says:

      I agree with you & thanks for reaching out. I will pass along your kind words! And yes… there’s a star in heaven for each family of first responders!

  4. Cathy Says:

    What a wonderful story you wrote for your children!!
    And yes their daddy is a hero!

  5. Reblogged this on don of all trades and commented:
    This woman’s husband is a local paramedic. He jumped into a COLD, DARK LAKE and wound up saving a baby’s life. The overall story and why this car ended up in a lake is a ridiculous tale of tragedy and pain, but this man’s actions are a glimmer of light and hope and love, because he only jumped into that water to save another life, even though it was a risk to his own. I’m proud of this young man and happy for his family that it worked out okay. I know this EMT probably thought of his own kids while reflecting on his heroics today. Great job, my friend.

  6. jgroeber Says:

    Beautifully written story. Clearly a hard-working mama behind the scenes helped support this hero to do his job so bravely.

  7. Carol Says:

    Wow just wow. !!!! Brought me to tears. Trent and Tyson you have been blessed with 2 amazing parents. Thank you for sharing and bless your family.

  8. Debbie Paganucci Says:

    Your children obviously have TWO wonderful parents!

  9. Cheryl Says:

    Wow. Well written and a great message that we all need to hear some days. Your husband is a hero. Thank you for showing us who he is.

  10. Carrie Whipple Says:

    So very well stated. A beautiful and poignant reminder to all of us. Don’t forget to take some credit for being the top of the support team.

  11. Kathy Roustio Says:

    I think that your sons have a “hero” in you too as you seem to be a very wise lady to have written these wonder words to your children ! Kathy Roustio

  12. Caren Stephan Says:

    Well said. I am amazed that you or your husband have any coherent thoughts these days. It isn’t easy being a “hero”, nobody starts the day saying this is the day I become a hero. You just prepare for the worst and do your best. Your husband will always be a hero for setting such a good example of what a good person, husband and father should be . God bless all of you, I am sure you are a good partner as well as his work partners. Best wishes and things will get back to “normal” shortly. And God bless those unfortunate children in the Glen Carbon family, I hope they have lots of extended family.

  13. Wendi Says:

    What a beautiful and inspiring story to your children! We are so thankful for your husband and to all the first responders! Blessings to you all!

  14. Danna Sandifer Says:

    Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13. God bless Todd and his family now and always.

  15. Bonnie Heinzmann Says:

    Priceless!! Bravo! Sent it to our pastor. He said it brought tears to his eyes

    Sent from my iPhone

  16. julie Says:

    Some folks just have it in their DNA. Those are the best of the best of our first responders. Lucky you! You found one to love and be loved by! Great letter to your babies!

  17. KY Zobrist Says:

    What a beautiful letter to your boys to remember forever filled with love and the greatest advice. They have two awesome parents. Love you all.

  18. A Similar Mommy Says:

    Mrs. Zobrist,
    I can not possibly say anything more, NOR any better than has been said below. So kudos to you & your beautiful family. May all the WONDERFUL things you bring to this world always come back to you & yours.
    God Bless you all always

  19. Juan Says:

    This is the best thing on the internet. Ever

  20. […] guy, with the same heart, keeping up the same high standard for every call he responds to.  The same little boys, who would look at their dad as if he was a superhero regardless of any risk-taking, life-saving […]

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