By Jennifer Dorsett
Field Editor

It all began when Rob Hinnant presented a grant to train one volunteer at his local fire department.

Hinnant, a Frio County Farm Bureau (CFB) board member, had no idea he would one day need the services of the young man who received the grant.

But that’s exactly what happened when Hinnant was involved in a serious vehicle accident on the morning of Dec. 18, 2018.

Hinnant, who lives in the small community of Moore, was traveling north on I-35 toward San Antonio that foggy morning. A southbound driver lost control of his pickup, crossed the median and collided with Hinnant. The impact pushed Hinnant’s pickup into the next lane, where he was struck again by a semi-truck.

“I saw some lights in the median and next thing they hit me head-on,” Hinnant said. “Then an 18-wheeler hit me on the passenger side. As soon as that first car came at me, I started praying. I was pinned in my truck when the first responders arrived.”

Moore Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) Chief J.D. Earls was first on the scene. Earls said he immediately realized Hinnant was in critical condition and needed to be transported to a trauma center.

Hinnant had severe internal injuries including a lacerated liver, collapsed lung and bruised heart in addition to numerous broken bones.

“Moore is a small, close-knit community, so I know him,” Earls said. “You always dread having to work on someone you know.”

Earls and other firefighters worked quickly to extricate Hinnant from his pickup. In what Hinnant calls an instance of divine intervention, Moore VFD received a new, stronger set of hydraulic rescue tools only a week before.

“There’s so much of God’s hand in this story that even non-believers might question their views,” Hinnant said. “Everyone did a fantastic job taking care of me. I absolutely believe God worked through them. Those guys saved my life.”

It was too foggy for helicopter transport, so Hinnant went by ambulance to University Hospital in San Antonio. That’s when he met Richard Hitchcock.

Hitchcock, a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician (EMT), was on call that day at the ambulance service. He is the same young man Frio CFB awarded the firefighter training grant one year earlier.

“When I got home that evening after the wreck, J.D. called me and said ‘Richard, that guy is the one who gave you your grant for fire school!’” Hitchcock said. “I wasn’t even supposed to be on call that day, but someone called in sick. So everything kind of all came full circle. I was able to help someone who once helped me.”

Hinnant believes it’s all only further proof of God’s perfect timing and plan.

“Three ambulances showed up,” Hinnant said. “What are the odds Richard and his crew are the ones who got me?”