As a 20-year-old soldier in Vietnam, Dennis Joyner tripped on a landmine and the explosion left him in bad shape. He lost both legs and his left arm below the elbow and he might have bled to death or died of shock or infection, but Dewey “Doc” Hayes was there to save him. That young medic from Tennessee ran to Joyner’s side, tied tourniquets and gave him morphine before getting him to a medevac helicopter.
It’s been nearly 50 years since that day, June 26th, 1969, and Joyner, now 70, finally got the chance to thank the man who saved his life in person for the first time recently. He’s been trying to find Hayes for a long time and the men finally met face-to-face in Florida, after finding out they’ve lived a few counties away from each other for years.
“In my eyes, you’re a hero,” Joyner tells Hayes. He explains, “All this time, I just wanted to thank him for saving my life.”