CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – Francesca Caterisano first met Steven Gibson when they were deployed to Afghanistan.
Gibson heard Caterisano as she worked in air traffic control and did everything he could to meet the girl behind the voice.
“The moment we met, the moment we connected, that was it,” said Caterisano. “It was like a fairy tale.”
One year later, Gibson proposed at Rockefeller Center on Christmas Eve.
“He was the greatest man ever,” Caterisano said. “I hope every woman gets to have a man like him.”
Shortly after, the pair were married.
Last month, Gibson and Caterisano were riding their motorcycle when they were hit by a car.
“I heard the kid who hit us just going out of control, ‘Oh my God! He’s dead,” she remembered. “That’s how I found out. There was someone who held my hand, continuing to keep me aware of my surroundings so I could live.”
Caterisano says a stranger stayed by her side after the crash, which killed her husband.
“It was dark, and he kept talking to me and kept telling me, ‘It’s going to be okay,” she said.
She says the man stayed with her when she would have been alone.
“He kept me alive,” she said. “He kept me awake. He kept me going.”
Caterisano was recovering from her injuries and decided to post an ad to Craigslist, asking for help finding the man who saved her.
She says she needed a chance to say ‘thank you’ to the person who made sure she wasn’t alone on the night she lost the one she loved most.
She says she was able to find the man and says this tragedy has helped her see the good in humanity.
She still has a long road to recovery.
Caterisano says she has major complications with her left leg and her spine, which was separated from her pelvis.
Months after treatment, she should be able to walk again.