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Truly Thankful: Nicolette Jenkins counts her blessings after a terrible accident

July 7, 2012 is a day that Nicolette Jenkins, developmental specialist at Child 1 Home in New Bern, will never forget. She remembers the 100 degree-day clearly. She was driving from Raleigh after picking up her 11-year-old daughter when the tire of her Ford Explorer blew.

Nicolette Jenkins“I heard it blow and I tried to pull over to the shoulder, but instead, the truck swerved off the road,” Jenkins recalled.

Jenkins, her daughter and her oldest son, who is 20, were flipped multiple times until the sports utility vehicle finally came to rest on the side of the interstate. She said she could see fluids running from the truck, and she yelled to her son to get her daughter out. She was unable to move and soon learned that her arm was maimed and trapped under the debris.

A couple who witnessed the accident pulled over to assist. Fortunately, the man was a fireman and he knew exactly what to do as a first responder. His wife helped to comfort Jenkins, who was remarkably calm, and the children, who were thankfully unharmed.

“She was talking to me to keep me awake and asked my name, children’s names and their ages to keep me responsive. The ambulance arrived in about 5-10 minutes. That couple was truly a blessing for me and my family.”

The paramedics cut Jenkins from the overturned vehicle. She was flown by helicopter to a trauma center, where she learned that she would lose her left arm. Through it all, she said her will to survive rested on thoughts of her children and returning home to them.

Nicolette and ChiChi“I am just so blessed and I thank the Lord everyday that I’m here,” she said. “Why should I change my attitude? I’ve gotten used to a new way of life, so I started by being positive from the beginning. It could have been worse – much worse.”

Jenkins’s doctors, nurses and therapists were amazed by her quick recovery, healthy rehabilitation, and they were especially impressed with her inspirational and positive attitude, which they attribute to her rapid recovery. She stayed in the hospital one week. Similar surgeries could require a stay twice that time. Her coworkers are also motivated by her brave and very positive demeanor.

“Nicolette is a great inspiration for all of us. Her faith and positive attitude inspire us,” said Elleane Pickett, operations manager at Child 1, who was part of the Monarch team who surprised Jenkins with a party when she returned.

Today, the courageous mother of four remains positive and was glad to return to work last month. She said she is very, very thankful for the support of her family and her coworkers, who donated PTO time, sent her well wishes, visited her and planned a party in her honor. She cried tears of joy when she thought about their overwhelming kindness.

“I’m thankful to be here for my family, my children. I love my co-workers and Monarch. I hope I can be here forever,” she said through a big smile. “Whatever God wants me to do, I’m just thankful that I’m still here to do it.”

Jenkins hopes to get a prosthetic arm by Christmas. Her new way of life hasn’t slowed her down; it just provides another opportunity for her to share her faith.

Pictured above: Top right- Nicolette Jenkins. Top left - Nicolette poses with Chinyere "ChiChi" Mbonu, a resident of Child 1 Home.

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