RT SiouxFallsFire Dustin Luebke is a leader, mentor & outstanding pillar of the Fire Service. He teaches Pride & O… pic.twitter.com/NsNhNwYPAA— Jason Bechler ???? (@jasonbechler) August 31, 2016
If you've lost faith in humanity this past year, prepare for a restoration.
Through an act of courage and compassion, Sioux Falls firefighter Dustin Luebke, 33, is showing the world what it means to lend a helping hand — literally.
It was around 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, when Luebke got the text to return to work after a building in Sioux Falls had collapsed, the Argus Leader reports. He had just completed a 24-hour shift.
"It was kind of surreal," Luebke said of the incident, which he had trained rigorously for.
At the heart of the disaster was Emily Fodness, 22, trapped underneath the rubble. A number of first responders, including Luebke, worked as a team to eventually free her.
But Luebke took it a step further after the responders located and rescued Fodness's dog, Nova. Luebke spotted Fodness's hand, and he latched on.
"I grabbed onto her hand, and I said, 'Emily, I've got your hand. I've got your hand. We've got you now. We're not going to let go. We're coming to get you,'" said Luebke, who was lying in the rubble. He waited, holding her hand for thirty minutes. Fodness, for her part, remained calm.
Around 1:30 p.m., the rescue team were able to remove Fodness, and she was carried to her family. Bystanders cheered. Luebke stayed with her throughout.
The firefighter said he was thinking of his daughters during the rescue mission. If one of his girls were in Fodness's shoes, he'd want somebody to hold her hand, too.
Luebke himself has had his share of hardship: He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in March 2014 and has undergone at least two dozen treatments of chemotherapy. He received a stem cell transplant in the summer of 2015.
And yet, Luebke continues to fight for other lives, proving himself a hero for the books.
Banner Image Credit: Twitter, @firefighternews