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Palm Harbor Fire Rescue finish injured veteran's patriotic mission after he takes a bad fall

Posted at 10:57 PM, Jul 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 03:26:07-04

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Every Fourth of July a home in a quiet Palm Harbor neighborhood is among the most decorated. Jack Atkins lines his driveway and his fences with American flags. 

"He's very patriotic," said his daughter Debra Atkins. 

Jack Atkins is a proud Air Force veteran, who for the past 20 years has lined his driveway and fence with American flags.

But this year, a major mishap, Jack tripped.

"The walker went one way. And he went another I would say he crashed and burned," said his daughter.

His neighbor Don Dearth rushed to his side.

"He was bleeding pretty bad," said Dearth.

Jack managed to hit his emergency alert bracelet, alarming paramedics, before slamming into the cement.  

Help arrived in minutes  

And when you are 84, time is even more crucial. 

That's why Debra delivered lunch to the Palm Harbor Rescue crew who rushed to help.

She hugged every one of them and echoed the same sentiment,

"Thank you so much for doing everything you did for my dad," said Debra. 

She said it was a small thank you, for not only giving her dad more time but also completing his mission.

"The only thing he was worried about was finishing his flags before he went to the hospital,"  said crew member Chris Eisenhardt.

So, medics did it for him. 

"Those veterans are being forgotten about and we have to remember that they fought for this country and that is why we are standing here today," said Eisenhardt.

Debra said her father is in the hospital and should be out soon.

"He's a warrior spirit and you cannot keep a soldier down long," said Atkins.

Even a hospital stay can't stop Jack from sharing his most important message of all.

"Happy Fourth of July to everyone," said jack Atkins waving a flag.