October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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Robin Pendergrast

On two occasions — once as a suburban paramedic, and the second as a flight paramedic — imminent dangers from gunfire directed at me or us was not expected and scared the hell out of me.

The first was responding to a call for a “man in distress” in unincorporated Cook County, Illinois. The welcome was shotgun fire as we entered a darkened, dilapidated house. A man was in distress, apparently passed out, and his friend fired off a shell directed at us. “Shots fired,” and multiple police agencies arrived.

The second was while transferring a wounded patient from an alleged gang confrontation in north suburban Illinois. Apparently efforts were made by the confronting gang to complete their mission, firing at him on the transport cot heading to the helicopter. Grab the flight nurse and duck…but too close. Frightening, of course, and the patient on the cot rolled down an incline, eventually stopping.

Two incidents, but enough to remember vividly years later.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.

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