By Scott Graves
Pilot staff writer
One moment, Brookings resident Rosalie Lugo was riding in a car with her husband, son and daughter-in-law. The next moment, BLAM!
The Feb. 15 two-car accident at the intersection of Highway 101 and Constitution Way left Rosalie with a broken rib, her husband with a concussion, and her son suffering from an aggravated heart condition.
Three weeks later, the Lugo family is happy to be alive and putting their lives back together. Rosalie credits the emergency workers who responded to the wreck "they saved our lives," she said, and the love of two angels Stella Carr and her sister Frances Silva.
"These two women, who I didn't even know, came to the hospital and prayed with us for hours," said Rosalie, her voice filled with gratitude. "I don't know what I would have done without them."
For Stella who, with her husband Woodward, are pastors at a Crescent City church, it was an opportunity to help someone in need as people once helped her many years ago.
Decades ago, when Stella was a young mother, the motorhome she, her husband and four children were camping in exploded. Stella and Woodward were burned badly, leaving them in the hospital and in no condition to care for their children.
"Many people, including some we didn't even know, helped care for our children when we couldn't," Stella said. "And those people have been in my prayers ever since."
Stella met Rosalie for the first time the night before the Brookings car accident, during a Valentine's Day concert at Cornerstone Assembly of God Church in Crescent City. Rosalie and her family attend St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Brookings.
Stella's sister, Frances, met Rosalie in December while shopping and they swapped phone numbers. Frances invited Rosalie to the concert.
It was during the concert that Rosalie received a phone call that her son, John Lugo Jr., who has heart problems, had been rushed to Sutter Coast Hospital because he had a heart attack. Rosalie left immediately.
Stella and Francis went to the hospital after the concert to check on Rosalie and her son. "We wanted to assure her that we were there for her and to pray for her family."
They waited and prayed with Rosalie until 1 a.m., when they learned Rosalie's son was in stable condition.
The next day, Stella and Francis returned to the hospital to check on Rosalie's son, only to find he had been released. They were leaving the hospital when Rosalie and her family arrived, in ambulances, the victims of the Brookings car accident.
Rosalie, with her broken rib, was treated and released from the hospital at 2 a.m. Stella, Woodward and Frances were waiting.
"She was in no condition to drive and there was no family at home," Stella said. "So we took her to my house and kept on eye on her until her husband and son were released a few days later."
In the days following, the sisters visited Rosalie and her family at their home up the Chetco River. Others came too, including someone from Brookings restaurant Rancho Viejo, who knocked on the door bearing free meals.
"I am so grateful to the firefighters, the medics, those wonderful ladies and everyone else," Rosalie said.
For Stella, it was simply a matter of doing the right thing.
"We have a mandate to help one another, but I think it gets lost in our busy lifestyles," she said. "It's was my turn to help someone else."