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Vandalia’s unwavering support: Community continues to stand by injured first responders after tragic wreck 3 months ago

Posted on Thursday, October 5, 2023 at 10:51 pm

By Julia Polston

On July 4, 2023, Leslie Dahl and Jason Bostic with the Van-Far Ambulance District were severely injured in a collision on Hwy. 61 while returning from a call.

They were both hospitalized in Columbia.

Dahl sustained internal injuries to her spleen and lungs in addition to multiple fractures to both legs and her pelvis. She spent several days on life support and on a ventilator. During the intervening months, she has undergone several surgeries.

Bostic sustained multiple fractures to both legs and arms and has received multiple surgeries.

In order to help the two first responders cover some of their medical bills, several community benefits were set up to help—including a barbecue at the Bar Code parking lot, which was hosted by White Rose Missionary Baptist Church from Bowling Green on July 17, a 50/50 raffle and Silent auction that was put on by Shoot 4 The Stars Karaoke/DJ at the Bar Code Bar and Grill, July 29 – 30, and a Poker Run at Bar Code Bar and Grill on Aug. 26.

There were many other fundraisers held to raise money for the two.

Bostic came home in early August with a massive escort of first responders, including a LifeFlight heicopter.

Well-wishers lined the streets to welcome him home.

Last week, Dahl was escorted through town, with the same fanfare before being transported to Pin Oaks treatment center.

A few of the local well-wishers expressed how important it is to show support for the two first responders.

“It’s really been since day-one that the community has shown support,” said Kim Davis. “There has been multiple fundraisers and I think tons of prayers, and to have a perfect day like this, weather-wise to bring her home in, we’re very thankful. We are really blessed to have both of them back. I’ll still be praying for them because they need a lot of prayers.”

“Leslie is a very big part of this community,” said Tara Lewis with Gentle Healthy Smile Dental Care. “We have personal connections with her. Leslie helps us with our continued education for CPR and First Aid. If I could say something to her right now it’d probably be ‘We love you. We are proud of you. We know how strong you are to never give up. Hang in there because things can only get better. Your community will be here waiting for her once everything is completed,’” she added.