12/20/2014

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'He was not alone': KOMO security guard meets Air 4 burn victim

'He was not alone': KOMO security guard meets Air 4 burn victim

SEATTLE -- When a disaster happens - when tragedy falls out of the sky right in front of you and life is on the line - you hope you would do the right thing.

Richard Newman did. On March 18, Air 4 crashed, hitting Newman's car. It was smashed and in flames, and he reacted.  Brian Post, a security guard at Fisher Plaza ran to help Newman.

He initially thought no one could have survived inside the car, but Newman emerged on his own. "I heard the door forced open. I saw him get out. He didn't panic. He did everything he needed to, to survive," Post described.

Newman did the right thing, and so did Post.  Post beat back the flames on Richard's body and then kept his hands on him so Richard would feel a human touch.

"I wanted him to understand he was not alone and he was going to be okay," Post said.  "I kept repeating it. The paramedics were there. He was going to be okay. It's important to know that you're not alone."

Newman doesn't remember that compassion.  But in the two weeks since those horrible moments, Newman's family has wanted to meet Post and hear his version of what he witnessed.  Newman's partner, Daniel Jung, shook hands with Post at Harborview Medical Center and thanked him face to face.

"Knowing that he was there in pain, and I couldn't be there for him at that moment, I'm glad somebody was," Jung said.  "You've done something that I'll never forget."

Jung wanted to thank Post in person. And so did Newman. Twice now, the two men have spent just a few minutes together, first when Richard was facing death and now as he faces life as a burn survivor.

"That's one thing I wanted him to know," Post said.  "He did the first stage and he's got to keep going.  And he'll make it."

They are forever connected. Brian Post, who showed bravery and compassion and Richard Newman who showed his will to live.  "I would say it was a simple, very base, will to survive," Post said.  "And he fought his way through it. It was really remarkable to see."

"I'm so proud of him," Jung said.  "I'm so proud of him.  I tell him that everyday. I said, 'you faced incredible odds and you were able to survive.' "

Jung is on leave from work while Newman recovers. The couple also has a 2-year-old son. Anyone who wants to help the family with mounting expenses can contribute to the KOMO Problem Solvers fund. Mark your donation for Richard Newman.

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