This incredible story began on September 7, 2005, when Rachel Reppert and her family were heading out to visit Reppert’s older sister who was graduating from college. As Rachel and her family began their journey from New Trioli, Pennsylvania, they were in the driveway when the family’s car was T-boned by a grain truck.
Lehigh Valley MedEvac responded to the accident and flew then eleven-year-old Rachel Reppert to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest. Reppert doesn’t remember a lot about that flight – but describes the whole experience as the catalyst for her life’s direction and purpose. “It played a huge part in my decision to pursue a role in healthcare”. From that point forward Reppert set her sights on becoming a nurse and she was even more determined to become a trauma nurse, specifically with MedEvac.
“This experience had really impacted me”, said Reppert, “I didn’t really think I could become a flight nurse, it seemed like an impossible dream”. Reppert pursued her dream career despite her doubts, saying “even while I pursued my Trauma nurse certifications, applying for and being accepted as a part of MedEvac — it still felt like a dream”.
As we recount the details of Reppert’s accident and her life flight— quite a few stars had to line-up for this miracle to come to fruition. It was then fate gave an approving nod by coming full circle in this bizarre wink from the heavens that followed.
Exactly 16 years [to the day] after Reppert’s accident, we fast forward to September 7th, 2021. Reppert arrived for her first day of orientation as a trauma nurse with LVHN MedEvac. Rachel Reppert’s dream of becoming a flight nurse had now become a reality – with a few other plot twists soon to be discovered.
Reppert was very excited and proud to have accomplished her goal and to finally live her dream.
On her very first day of orientation, she shared her story about the accident with a colleague. She explained her reason for pursuing a career as a trauma nurse and how that flight to life gave her the dream that shaped her destiny.
Her predecessor Eric Bubbenmoyer, an LVHN MedEvac Flight nurse said “It was really neat to see Rachel eager to start her new career”, adding, “she was just taking everything in. It reminded me of when I first started” said Bubbenmoyer. Bubbenmoyer said he still remembers Reppert’s first day of orientation as if it was yesterday. What neither of them knew at the time was they had both met 16 years prior on this date, the day of the accident.
The truth is stranger then fiction reality is that Bubbenboyer was on the ‘Flight to Life’ with Rachel Reppert. They had now crossed paths again, only this time it was a joyful celebration. If not for the research skills of a colleague who was able to track down the record of Reppert’s flight – they likely never would have found out that Bubbenmoyer was in the helicopter with 11 year old Reppert on that very same date, only 16 years prior.
Neither one of them could have predicted that they would meet on the anniversary date of the accident and he would be there to cheer her on.
Reppert, while attending her first day of orientation, had no idea who Bubbenmoyer was. He was there to instruct and to pass the torch – and yet, neither of them knew about each other at the time.
“What are the odds?” Reppert remarked. “Even to this day- it’s still unbelievable”.
As a flight nurse, Bubbenmoyer isn’t typically given the opportunity to find out how the patients fare or about their recovery. “I didn’t think I’d meet up with someone [with these circumstances ever], especially 16 years later,” Bubbemoyer shared.
The odds of reuniting with a patient turned colleague is even less likely— “It’s a one in a million chance of ever happening,” said Bubbemoyer.
“We all know nurses are miracle workers,” shared L. Gerson, Media Director for Lancaster Health News. “I just had to share the story when I read about their chance encounter” Gerson said. “Their date with destiny gives us all a lot to think about- and a lot to be thankful for,” Gerson added.
Life has many twists and turns, but when it comes full circle, and puts a smile on your face- then we know we have done our job providing news that propels and encourages he positivity we aspire to share within our community.
Lancaster Health News publishes community news and seeks to acknowledge all health heroes throughout Lancaster and surrounding neighborhoods. We hope you will share your special stories with us in the news.