LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A man was caught in an accident that almost cost him his legs. Nearly two years later, he's walking and delivering a message to the people who were first on the scene to help him.
Dennis Hardin was working in Louisville on July 20, 2016 when he had a terrible fall.
"Start sliding down the wall with me on the ladder," Hardin said. "I rode it like a surf board and I hit the ground. When I hit the ground, I felt both my ankles they were on a rung both of them snapped."
Hardin fell about 12 feet. A 911 call was made and two Louisville Metro EMTs made the run. Nicholas Wahl and Billy McKelvey were working together.
"I remember it," Louisville Metro EMT Nicholas Wahl said.
"When we saw him, the extent of his injuries his leg still being under the ladder and sort of wrapped around one of the rungs," firefighter and EMT Billy McKelvey said.
Whal remembered what he said to Hardin.
"Your leg is pretty bad," Wahl said. "I'm gonna have to turn your leg to get flow back to it."
"He told me it was going to hurt and he was right," Hardin said.
"Brace with me, and that's when I was able to turn his leg we got the pulses back to one of his legs," Wahl said.
Whal and McKelvey rushed Hardin to the hospital where he heard the doctor say something frightening.
"'We're gonna work on your legs' she said 'and if I have to amputate I can do that too'," Hardin said the doctor told him. "I remember her saying that."
Hardin said both of his ankles and the legs above them were broken. It was a long road to recovery from there. He underwent surgery and had major complications along the way. He couldn't walk for over a year and was in wheelchair. But, he had his legs and determination and started walking just months ago.
Hardin's journey wasn't complete.
"I had to meet the men that I feel like saved my life," Hardin said. "I want to cry. They saved my foot it's important to me."
Nearly 22 months later, Hardin got to say thank you.
"Guys, I owe you a debt of gratitude and say it over and and over and never get tired of saying thank you," Hardin said. "For what you did, people need to be told."
McKelvey and Wahl said they often wonder what happens to the lives they touch. To hear a thank you and see Dennis Hardin meant so much to them.
"To see somebody who was close to losing both of his legs get out of a car and walk up to you and give you a hug, it's unexplainable the feeling," McKelvey said. "He's never going to forget us and we are never going to forget him."
Hardin said he does not get on ladders anymore. He's a preacher and travels overseas and says he was able to do that because of the EMT's who helped him.