Have you ever been driving down the road and witnessed an accident? What did you do? Did you stop and attempt to help? Did you call 911? Did you ignore the situation and continue on with your drive? Tracey Stoeckel, medical assistant program chair and one of Minnesota School of Business-Brooklyn Center’s newest employees, did what most cannot fathom doing. Stoeckel not only pulled over, but she assisted the victims at the scene.
On August 20, 2013, Stoeckel was driving down the road heading home after teaching an afternoon class at MSB-Blaine. Traffic began to slow down, and eventually she was at a complete stop. She did not know what was going on; however, she noticed that eight cars ahead of her found a way to turn around because they could not drive any further.
Stoeckel realized that there was an accident up ahead and decided that she should pull over. “I did what I thought anyone in my shoes would do, and I approached the vehicles to see if I could help as EMS had not arrived at the scene,” she said. Three other individuals had also pulled over to help, and a teenager had stopped on the side of the road to call 911.
According to Stoeckel, “My first thought was that I could help. I had been trained to help in a situation like this. I had no idea what the severity of the injuries were, but I saw that one driver was bleeding. I just kept telling myself that I could help.”
Stoeckel is a 2010 medical assistant graduate from MSB-Blaine. Following graduation, she spent time working at University of Minnesota Physicians as well as Allina. In 2013, she returned to MSB-Blaine as an adjunct instructor. In March 2014, she accepted the position as the medical assistant chair at MSB-Brooklyn Center. “Because of my education at MSB, I had the skills and the know-how to actually be of assistance to the injured and frightened victims.”
While on scene, Stoeckel assisted with the care of three of the four patients. She even used some of the Spanish that she learned in high school after realizing that the driver and passengers in one of the vehicles did not speak English. Since the accident, Stoeckel has taken a Spanish class through MSB to expand her vocabulary.
Stoeckel said, “It got real for me when I noticed that a helicopter was hovering over me while I was helping to support the head and neck of one of the victims who was pinned in the vehicle.” Three of the victims were airlifted to local hospitals, and one was taken by ambulance; they all survived.
In thinking back, Stoeckel said, “It was crazy and surreal, and I will never forget those people. All four of us that stopped to help had medical training: a nurse, a medical assistant, a laboratory technician, and a retired fire fighter. My advice to everyone is that if you see an accident happen, stop to help if it is safe to do so. You may not be able to offer medical help like we could, but you can help direct traffic, offer comfort to those involved, or simply call 911. Summer is here, so do your part to be careful on the roads. Be cautious, be safe, and be aware of motorcycles.”
In February 2014, Stoeckel and the other three volunteers were recognized in a ceremony by the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office. According to a letter written by Sheriff James Stuart, “Our awards ceremony provides us an opportunity to commend citizens and employees for their exceptional performance.” All four volunteers received “…Citizen Awards of Merit for your teamwork, conscientiousness, initiative, and willingness to render aid to others in need.”
We, at the MSB-Brooklyn Center campus, are very proud to have Tracey as a part of our team!