Fergal Fahey and his six-year-old daughter Hazel of Merlin Park, Galway, were dealt a shock last Wednesday afternoon when Hazel was injured after being knocked off her bike.
As the young girl was cycling out of the grounds of her school, Gaelscoil Dara, Renmore, she was thrown off balance when the driver of a parked car swung the door open in front of her and hit her.
Though Hazel only got ‘‘some bruises and a bad fright’’, Fergal said his heart ‘‘swells with gratitude at how much care and support we received from the people who stopped to help,’’ especially an off-duty Army officer, who was present in uniform.
Fahey described with great praise how the soldier ‘‘not only did a very expert first aid once-over on my daughter but was absolutely magical in his ability to re-assure her and calm her down’’ and that he ‘‘struck absolutely the perfect note with my little girl.’’
Stating that he considered it lucky that his daughter avoided serious injury, Fahey also considered himself lucky ‘‘to have encountered such support from such lovely people’’.
Once Hazel was in good health, the soldier left without giving his name, although Fahey suspects he could have been a first lieutenant.
Fahey wrote to the Galway Advertiser to express his appreciation for the soldier’s efforts. In his letter, he concluded by saying ‘‘how lucky we all are to have such a person serving in the Irish Defence Forces.’’