Mauldin, a retired Douglas County teacher who also served in the Army, suffered several broken bones, a fractured pelvis, and other injuries, and was initially taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. He then spent six months as an inpatient at Christian City rehab center in Union City.
Today, he is well on his way to recovery, and to mark the three-year milestone, he wanted to pay tribute to the first responders who helped him that fateful day. On Tuesday, he celebrated with a recovery walk on the same route.
“Firemen and ambulance people hardly ever get a thank you for what they do, and I wanted to say thank you because they saved my life,” said Mauldin, who is now 64. “They got me down to Grady in 16 minutes. My first thought when they told me that was, where did they put the helicopter down? But they took me down in an ambulance.”
About 20 Cobb firefighters joined his walk on Tuesday, as did crews and vehicles from Puckett EMS, a nurse from Christian City and several of Mauldin’s friends. Cobb Fire Chief Sam Heaton and southwest Cobb Commissioner Woody Thompson also joined in.
Five of the firefighters who responded on the day of the accident were among those who attended Tuesday, including Lt. Mark Tillman, Engineer Al Prater and firefighters Larry Bowen, Jonathon Hogeland and Kim Taylor.
Cobb Firefighter Denell Boyd, a spokeswoman for the department, said Mauldin “was pretty broken up when the first responders got there that morning.
“They all said it is amazing that Mr. Mauldin survived this terrible accident and is doing well enough to have this reunion and walk three years later,” she said.
Mauldin said that in talking to some of the first responders Tuesday, he learned things he didn’t know about the day of the crash. A Puckett paramedic, he said, recalled seeing that the emergency-room doctors at Grady had ‘filleted’ his legs and they were expecting to amputate them.
“I hadn’t heard that,” Mauldin said, adding that he is clearly glad amputation wasn’t necessary.
He was so amazed at the turnout Tuesday that he led the group on a two-mile walk.
“I had no idea how far I’d be able to walk, and the more I walked, the better I felt,” Mauldin said. “We did the whole two miles, and that’s the furthest I’ve walked since the accident.”