'We couldn't be more grateful': Pregnant woman meets nurse who saved her from fiery car crash
Even under a mask, you can sense Cheryl Gallet cringing when someone calls her a hero.
She'd better get used to it.
It's the best way to describe Gallet's actions in the early-morning hours of Oct. 20 when she and another good Samaritan rescued a pregnant Naperville woman by pulling her from an SUV that flipped on its roof and caught fire after a multicar crash on I-355.
Miraculously, Miranda Rosasco suffered only bumps and bruises, and her unborn baby girl was not hurt.
"I'm not fond of (being called a hero)," Gallet said. "I would hope that any human being would help another human being. I like staying under the radar just doing my job, so this is a little nerve-racking for me."
A month after the crash -- and after Rosasco spent weeks sending Gallet notes of gratitude and thank-you gifts -- the two finally met again on Wednesday morning at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, where Gallet is a veteran operating-room nurse.
"I'm just very grateful that she was there to help me," said Rosasco, who is due on March 8.
"It was terrifying," she said. "It happened so quickly. I couldn't really see what exactly happened. ... It's just a miracle that we're both here."
Rosasco, a special-education teacher in Glendale Heights, and Gallet, who lives in Lemont, were both on their way to work at about 6:30 a.m. that Wednesday when a car unexpectedly changed lanes and swiped Rosasco's Honda HR-V. Rosasco remembers spinning sideways and being hit by several other cars, eventually finding herself hanging upside-down and strapped in by her seat belt with deployed air bags surrounding her.
With no way to free herself, Rosasco began honking her horn and yelling for help. Gallet, meanwhile, noticed traffic jarred to a halt. She pulled over to the far right lane in hopes of getting off the highway on the Ogden Avenue exit.
When Gallet saw Rosasco's car flipped on its roof, however, she steered her car toward it as another driver followed her. Gallet noticed a fire starting under the grill of the SUV.
While a third person poured water on the fire, Gallet and a man pulled Rosasco from the car and helped her to safety.
"It just puts things into perspective," Gallet said. "As a society, we take things for granted. I think we need to look out for each other and be thankful for the little things that we have that really aren't that little."
Rosasco was, understandably, shaken up after the crash, but Gallet comforted her and took her medical history in case Rosasco became unable to relay the information to the paramedics. Lisle-Woodridge Fire District and state police personnel soon arrived and took Rosasco to Edward Hospital in Naperville, but not before Gallet lent Rosasco her cellphone to call her husband, Jimmy.
"It was the worst morning of my life, just like a nightmare," Jimmy Rosasco said.
"(Gallet is) our hero," he said. "She saved the baby and my wife. We couldn't be more grateful."
Miranda Rosasco called Gallet that night to thank her and let Gallet know she was OK. Rosasco stayed in contact with Gallet through her sister-in-law, Stephanie Rosasco, who works in the radiology department at Advocate Good Samaritan.
Stephanie Rosasco gave Gallet updates on Miranda and also passed along notes, gift cards and other thank-you items such as candles and a crystal angel Gallet keeps in her office.
Whether Gallet believes she deserves the attention or not, Rosasco said it's the least she can do for -- that's right -- a hero.
"It was kind of a miracle that everything ended up as good as it was," Rosasco said. "I'm just very thankful (Gallet was) there to help me."