To the people of Minden and the surrounding area,
My name is Tina Wilkins and on February 7, 2016, my life changed forever. It was Superbowl Sunday and Minden was in the middle of the St. Jude Auction about to break records once again.
While talking on the phone making vacation plans, I suddenly felt an intense pain go through my throat, chest and abdomen. I was convinced I was having a heart attack. My husband called 911 to send an ambulance. I was taken to the hospital and diagnosed shortly thereafter with a Type A aortic dissection that went from the top of my heart to my kidneys. This is a condition that is usually diagnosed on an autopsy. Mine was not, and here is where my need to thank you all begins.
I would like to start by thanking Advanced Ambulance for transporting me to Minden Medical Center safely where Dr. Michael Chanler and the MMC staff were amazing in diagnosing my condition quickly, and taking steps to get me the care I needed. That meant I needed to be transferred to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, TX on a fixed wing plane for emergency surgery. I needed to get there quickly.
The next team I need to thank is the Pafford B-shift ground crew that transported me to the Minden Airport and kept me stable until the Pafford Air Crew could load me on a plane for Houston. Our small town was full of heroes that night. We needed a few extra, so Pafford flew them in to get me.
Other heroes flying that night were area pilots Daniel Blell, Danny Wilson, and Brian Still. They all were instrumental in getting my husband and oldest son to Houston that night so I would not be alone when I arrived. My return trip home was also made easier by friend and pilot, Danny Newell. He flew me home after my release from the hospital. God may not have sent angels, but he sent men “with wings.”
I would also like to thank all of you, the prayer warriors that are friends and complete strangers. It is humbling to hear of and meet people from literally all over that were praying for me. I have received cards and messages from so many area churches, from friends I have not heard from in years, and friends I see regularly. They all have one thing in common, prayers being spoken for my full recovery.
Finally, I need to thank this community for rallying behind my family to raise money to help cover my medical expenses. T-shirts were sold, donations were given, and a fish fry was held. It was amazing to hear that not only was a fish fry held, but so much of the stuff needed to have the fish fry was donated. There were also online auctions and a bake sale. People saw my family’s need and stepped up. Many of those same people also fed my family for almost two months following my return home. Amazing!
I am humbled by the generosity and love of so many people; many that I do not know and may never know. I am still working on sending out thank you notes, but I am afraid I will miss someone and I want you all to know how appreciative I am.
My promise to each of you is that I will do my best every day to figure out why God chose to use a miracle on me. I will also pay it forward whenever possible. There is no doubt in my mind that without the prayers and support of my Minden family, I would not be here today. THANK YOU!