The horrors that Fardanesh, now 26, has seen the past decade have strengthened him.
“When you see death at a young age you mature a lot faster,” said Fardanesh, the former chief of Aetna’s response team at the University of Delaware, where he managed five squads that responded to approximately 10,000 calls per year.
“You get a different appreciation for life and how short it can be,” he said.
Former Capt. Cynthia Dilatush was washing out the rigs one holiday weekend when a potentially fatal car crash alert came in over the radio.
Assuming Fardanesh was away at college, Dilatush was surprised to see him at the scene along with his 16-year-old friend.
“We saved their life that day,” she said, recalling how she worked in silence with the two boys and two other volunteers to load the victim into a helicopter in less than 15 minutes.
Volunteering with USRVAC helps give young people a sense of purpose a boost in self-esteem, Dilatush said.
The determination that Fardanesh has, however, is something that can't be taught, she added.
"He has the 'right here, right now, we're not going to let you go' kind of determination," she said. "He's just like that."
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