After Plano Fire Capt. Mark Hardy was involved in a major motorcycle crash nearly a year ago in Howe, Plano Fire-Rescue honored the emergency personnel last week from Howe, Van Alstyne and the CareFlite crew who took part in saving his life.


At about 7 a.m. on Aug. 23, 2016, Hardy was driving his Honda Gold Wing southbound on U.S. Highway 75. Plano Fire Capt. Scott Mallen said Hardy had just accessed the highway when he was struck on the head by a box that fell off a truck. Mallen recounted the events of the wreck during an Aug. 1 ceremony, which was livestreamed on social media at Plano Fire-Rescue’s Administration Building.


“He tried to correct after being hit in the head by the box — was not able to maintain that, and he was driven into a concrete barrier,” Mallen said during the ceremony.


Howe and Van Alstyne emergency personnel responded to the scene, and a CareFlite helicopter was dispatched to transport Hardy to Medical City Plano. Mallen noted that the responding crews acted professionally and expertly and gave Hardy the necessary life-saving medical care before the helicopter landed.


“The responding agencies and the responders did a phenomenal job here — they did an outstanding job,” Mallen said. “Some of these folks are volunteer, some of them are paid, but that does not negate the fact that they were absolutely professional in their dedication and their commitment to the job. Because of that, Mark is still here with us.”


Hardy was in the intensive care unit for about a month and underwent multiple surgeries, Mallen said. Following the surgeries, he went through multiple months of rehabilitation and recovery. On Feb. 5, 2017, Hardy returned to regular duty at Plano’s Fire Station 8.


“He underwent a significant amount of trauma, but that never kept Mark from having an unfailing will to survive,” Mallen said.


Plano Fire-Rescue honored the fire and police departments from the two cities as well as the CareFlite crew during the ceremony last week. Plano Fire Chief Sam Greif and Mallen presented the agencies with plaques and awarded certificates of commendation to the individuals. Greif thanked the agencies during the ceremony, and he said they’re celebrating a positive outcome that could have turned tragic.


“The other thing that I took away from this is — I saw him as he progressed through each stage of his recovery — was his determination that he was not only going to get well, that he was coming back to full duty to this department,” Greif said. “And it’s remarkable that he made it back as fast as he did.”


The following individuals from Howe were honored during the ceremony: Interim Police Chief Michael Hill, Officer Brandon Ozuna, former Chief Carl Hudman, Fire Capt. Ernest Rivard, Firefighter Jaycob Miller, Firefighter Stephen Cortinas, Firefighter Justin Vawter and Fire Chief Roberty Maniet.


From Van Alstyne, the following were honored: Officer Brandon Blair, Fire Lt. Adam Huttash, Firefighter Justin Caffey, Firefighter James Lewis, Firefighter Zach Manning and Dispatcher Shannon Haines.


The following CareFlite crew was also honored: Pilot Ed Dail, Flight Medic Cody Bount, Flight Medic Alex Eden and Flight Nurse Shaun Scott.


“I can’t say thank you enough,” Hardy said. “I don’t have enough words to be able to express everything I would like to be able to thank you guys for.”


Van Alstyne Police Chief Tim Barnes said he is honored by the recognition given to the city’s departments. He said anytime first responders can help save a life makes them feel good.


“From the dispatcher taking the phone call to the officers and paramedics arriving on scene, it all came together great,” Barnes said. “Thank God we have the training that we have and the technology that we have to be able to save lives.”


Barnes noted that it was a team effort, and the local cities depend on each other for mutual aid.


“No matter if it’s Van Alstyne, or Anna, or even Sherman, we all work together in times of crisis,” Barnes said. “In this event, the teamwork came together to save someone’s life.”