Great State: Skating Blind
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — An ambulance pulls up to the Devon Ice Rink downtown and you’d naturally think it would be there to pick up instead of drop-off.
“We’re here!” says EMT Lori Lutterall.
“Are you ready,” asks her medic partner Thomas Zizhak?
Their ambulance passenger on this afternoon is Nesbin Carillo.
He’s a 10 year old 3rd grader at local Monroe Elementary.
He’s also profoundly blind.
“Are you going skating,” asks Oklahoma City Barons hockey forward Derek Nesbitt?
“We’re gonna have a lot of fun,” says Barons team-mate defenseman Brad Hunt.
A couple of weeks ago, EMSA and the Barons got their heads together.
They chose Nesbin for a big adventure.
Two EMSA medics came in on their off days.
“It sounded like a good opportunity,” says Steve, “so we jumped on it.”
Barons players Nesbit and Hunt volunteered while they were on a long road trip.
“We just wrote back and said we’d be glad to do it,” says Nesbitt.
The last time Nesbin skated he was pretty scared.
This time he was excited.
“Does it feel slippery?” asks someone.
“Yeah,” he says with a smile.
With a lot of encouragement and a whole group of professionals to watch he learned what ice is like to skate on.
He also learned what it was like to touch.
“I can’t feel nothing now,” laughs Nesbin after holding his hands to the outdoor rink floor.
Nesbin Carillo’s escorts learned to appreciate their jobs in a whole new way.
“It’s a different kind of bravery,” remarks an observer.
“Yeah,” says Brad Hunt. “It’s kind of a touching experience. It puts a lot of perspective in out eyes.”
EMT Lori Lutterall agrees, “We normally pick up kids who are sick and hurting. That’s the last think we want to do so it’s nice to come out here and have a little fun and hang out with this little guy. He’s pretty awesome.”
Nesbin’s mom got to come to the rink. His classmates from school gave him a big send-off complete with a poster in braille. “That was cool,” he says.
Carillo got to keep his Barons jersey and a signed hockey stick.
While skating he quizzed hockey vets Hunt and Nesbitt, “Guess what time I got up this morning,” he asks? “One A.M. I was just excited I guess.”
Nesbin won’t have a picture in his head of his experience on this warm, December afternoon.
But he’s remember this gift as long as he lives, just like the once who gave it.