PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Andy Purchner is a Pass Christian fireman. On Saturday, he was my hero.
Purchner had the day off. So, he figured the weather was so nice, he'd drive over to the Oaks Golf Club and hit a bucket of balls.
When he got out of his truck, Purchner spotted a frazzled motorist standing next to his SUV. That driver was me. I had just completed an enjoyable 18 holes at the Oaks. And I was on my way to Perkinston for the Gulf Coast football game. But the trip to Stone County was suddenly in jeopardy. The rear tire on the passenger side of my vehicle was flat.
Purchner looked at me and asked if I needed a hand. That was an understatement of the day. I knew how to loosen lugnuts, and jack up the back end of my SUV. But I had no idea how to unhook my spare tire from the undercarriage of the truck.
For 45 minutes, I experimented with different ways to loosen the tire. I knew two metal poles went together. And I knew the poles went into a hole. And they were supposed to connect to a hoist latch. I just had no idea how to hook the poles to the latch.
Every attempt I made to free the spare tire was like hitting a golf ball out of bounds. I had a tire iron in my hand. But I kept shanking my attempts to loosen the spare into the woods. Consequently, I ended up right back where I started. And my penalty stroke was the clock. It was getting later and later. And I needed to be on the road to Perk. Yet, without the spare, my trip was doomed.
My hero walked across the parking lot. He grabbed my tire iron. And in an instant, Andy Purchner had my spare tire on the ground. He jacked up the SUV. He replaced the flat tire with the spare. He loaded the flat into my hatch. And he rode off into the sunset.
I dashed into the clubhouse and paid for the two bags of balls Purchner and his friend were about to hit. It was the least I could do. The fireman didn't save my life. But he made it possible for me to keep my commitment up at Perk. Thanks Andy. And thanks to all of our rescue teams. You are truly life savers.