Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, a New Jersey Transit train crashed into the Hoboken Terminal, due to the engineer’s undiagnosed sleep disorder. The tragic accident, which resulted in more than 100 people injured and one dead, is what led Jeremy Garriga to the scene.
“Before I got called on the scene for the Hoboken train crash, I had fallen asleep in my dorm studying for my first developmental psychology exam,” Garriga, a junior social and behavioral science major said. “I woke up to multiple phone calls and texts. I didn’t realize how serious the situation was until I opened a voicemail from the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps telling all members to come to the train crash site.”
Garriga knew he had to go. He got permission from his professor to miss his exam and made his way to Hoboken.
The scene of the crash was flooded with police, firemen and ambulances from different towns and companies, all lined up waiting to take patients to hospitals. Five hospitals nearby were packed with patients from the accident. Once Garriga was on-site he was instructed on where he was needed the most and what to do. The training he received helped him while at the scene.
“I believe that everyone, including myself, was very prepared for the incident,”Garriga said. “We have classes held annually to keep us up to date on what to do for what if situations. However, no one is ever really prepared for the real thing no matter how many training classes one has completed.”
Friends of Garriga find the work he does to be inspiring.
“Jeremy has the best work ethic of anyone our age and that’s something to be inspired by,” said Megan Nolan, a junior at New Jersey City University.
“Many people don’t worry about the seriousness of life, as in careers and work, but rather be out ‘living it up’ instead. Most people dream of being successful and Jeremy sets an amazing example of what a hard-working young adult striving for success looks like.”
Marissa Banks, a freshman public relations major at Seton Hall said Garriga’s EMT aspirations only enhance his caring aspects.
“He is definitely a do-anything-to-help-people-type of person. Which, to me, is most definitely what you want in an EMT,” Banks said. “He cares so much about people and wants them to be happy and live well. Literally such a caring guy.”
Garriga has found his calling through being an EMT.
“Being an EMT is truly a unique experience. My work has truly fortified my goals of becoming a doctor. I knew that I’ve always wanted to be a doctor since I was young. More specifically, I would hope to one day become a neurosurgeon. Since I have experience in the emergency field, I know that I would also do well as an emergency room doctor/surgeon,” Garringa said.
Kiah Conway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.