Family hosts reception to offer healing to first responders after son’s death

After Ruthy Storrs’ son Robert died in an Interstate 24 motorcycle crash in 2012, her healing included knowing about those whose job it was to respond to the tragedy.

"I was alarmed by what these individual have to face," Storrs said.

Her son had proposed to his girlfriend, Jessica Caroe, who was his passenger the day before. Instead of planning a wedding, the families were planning their funerals, which lead Storrs to consider the devastating affects the crash had on others.

McCracken County Sheriff David Knight was the first on scene. He says what he saw was one of the worst crashes of his career. "For the first month, I didn’t know their names, didn’t want to know their names to keep them at bay. So much that, I didn’t know, then maybe it didn’t hurt as bad," Knight said. 

Knight said he experienced severe trauma after their deaths. "When you close your eyes at night, you’re going to deal with it," he said.

Storrs realized Knight wasn’t alone. Every year since Robert’s death, she has offered first responders counseling and faith-based resources for healing. "Be secure enough to say, ‘Hey, you know what? I’m showing some signs of post-trauma. I should get some help here,’" Storrs said. 

The family is hosting an invite-only get-together from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Heartland Worship Center in Paducah. It’s for all first responders, including police, sheriff’s deputies, state troopers, EMTs and firefighters. 

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