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VCU Health’s Shining Knight Gala to honor those who helped Hanover County firefighters after ‘Michael’ accident


VCU Health honored the emergency medicine first responders, doctors, nurses and others who save trauma patients’ lives at the 11th annual Shining Knight Gala. The event raises funds for VCU Trauma Center’s Injury and Violence Prevention Program and recognizes those who protect and save lives in Central Virginia.

This year’s featured patients are David Johnson and Carter Lewis, firefighters with Hanover County Fire-EMS, who suffered severe injuries on Oct. 11, 2018 after a tractor-trailer struck their fire engine as they were responding to an accident on Interstate 295 in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Michael.

The 20-year-old Lewis was working his first full day on the job and was supposed to graduate from the Hanover Fire-EMS Career Academy later that evening. He lost his right leg in the collision, but remains steadfast in pursuing his dream job as an active-duty firefighter. Johnson broke multiple ribs, his pelvis, hip and femur, and sustained other critical injuries. The King George resident is still undergoing rehabilitation.

Lewis, Johnson and their families will reunite with their health care teams and first responders at the Shining Knight Gala. One of the first responders is Christopher Elish, a Hanover County Fire-EMS colleague who responded to the I-295 accident with Lewis and Johnson, but remained unharmed. Brad Clark, the team’s lieutenant who died at the scene, will be remembered for saving lives by alerting others just moments before the tractor-trailer crashed into the fire engine. His wife, Melanie Clark, will accept the Shining Knight honor in her husband’s name.

VCU Medical Center is the only comprehensive Level I adult, pediatric and burn trauma center in the region and the longest-standing, state-designated trauma center in Virginia. The Level I trauma center designation recognizes the hospital’s dedication to the highest quality care within and beyond hospital walls through teaching and research, as well as injury and violence prevention programs.