Robert Good, General Foreman (Division 29, VA), was with a crew in a remote forestry access road, approximately 5–7 miles off the main road, in the George Washington National Forest when a cyclist rode past. The crew noticed that cyclist’s helmet was not strapped, causing concern, and called out to him but he kept riding.
Twenty minutes later, after discussing the safety tailgate with the team, Robert drove away with his windows down and radio off. As he guided his vehicle around a sharp curve with a deep grade/steep bank by a creek, he thought he heard a cry for help. He stopped to look around but saw nothing. He called out but there was no answer.
Later, as he exited the park, he saw a car in the parking lot and thought it was probably the cyclist’s vehicle. He asked a crew leader to head back to the area below to see if he could see anything. There they discovered the cyclist, who was severely battered from his fall, attempting to climb out of the rocky ravine. They immediately called for help and used their UTV to bring him to safety.
The cyclist was airlifted to the hospital with a concussion, punctured lungs, and broken right arm, left leg, vertebrae, ribs, and wrist with missing bones. The wounds were so deep, the medics asked if there were any body parts left at the site below.
We later learned that the cyclist and his family were visiting a local resort from NJ. Had he not been seen by Robert and the crew initially, his faint cries heard later, his car noted at the park entrance, and a crew doubling back to check on his safety, it is very likely that this cyclist would not have been found.
The cyclist’s family members came to the job site on Wednesday and thanked the team for rendering aid to the cyclist and undoubtedly saving his life.
This is a heroic story – of team situational awareness, empowerment, humanity, and acting to create safety.
In photo, from Left to Right — Shannon Frazier (Trimmer), Ronnie Good (Ground person), Rusty Rinard (Trimmer), Derek Miller (Crew Leader), and Robert Good (General Foreman). Not pictured: Brier Smith (Trimmer).