Community reaches out to firefighter critically injured

People who worship with Lt. Kissinger at Richland Creek Community Church in Wake Forest show their support.

December 7, 2009 1:40:40 PM PST
The Firefighter critically injured in a multiple vehicle pileup Friday is still in critical condition.

Investigators say Lt. Harry "Flip" Kissinger was driving a pickup truck when he was hit by a school bus. The force of the impact pinned Kissinger in the truck.

On Monday, Kissinger underwent surgery to reduce pressure within his brain. He is in a medically induced coma and is still in critical condition on a ventilator.

Kissinger's family remains by his side at Wake Medical Center.

Local firefighters and members of Kissinger's church are showing their support by praying for the Raleigh firefighter.

The people who worship with Kissinger at Richland Creek Community Church in Wake Forest call him "Flip." They're praying for his recovery after the crash left him pinned inside his truck for nearly an hour.

"Very thankful that none of the children on the school bus were harmed," Kissinger's Pastor John Bright said.

Many of the people, like Kathy Powers, who attended his church Sunday, were struck by grief after hearing that he's in critical condition.

"It hurt my soul," Powers said. "What a tragedy that it was, and how it would affect his family and everybody that knew him."

It's a feeling that is shared miles beyond this community of faith. There has been a huge community response to Kissinger's story, especially among firefighters.

"So many firefighters," Student Pastor David Miller said. "The Raleigh Fire Department has been amazing, brought in 22 Krispy Kreme doughnuts!"

Along with the desire to feed the spiritual needs of the Raleigh firefighter, many people are praying for those who are taking care of Kissinger.

"Pray for the doctors, the nurses, all who will be administering care," Bright said. "And obviously, continue to support the family in any way that they can, through their prayers [and] through visits."

Pastor Bright says Kissinger is known for being the person who is always willing to lend a hand.

"A servant's heart and he loved to be here at church, to help out anyway he could," Bright said. "It was about a year ago that Flip entered one of the pastor's offices. He was distraught about his eternal life."

"First time I met him, he just sat down in my office and we talked through some things," Miller said. "He was struggling with his faith and as we talk he solidified that in his own heart and life, and we prayed together."

Both of Kissinger's pastors and church members hope faith will help him recover from the wreck.

"We will continue to pray for him and ask that everyone else does, too," Powers said.

Lt. Kissinger's is a 12 year veteran of the Raleigh Fire Department and is assigned to Fire Station 6.

He is married and has two daughters.

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