Injured woman finds her 'angel from heaven'

October 09, 1998


State Trooper and TrumpowerBy KIM YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

A 94-year-old woman who broke her hip in a fall from a ladder has had a chance to thank the Maryland State Police trooper who came to her rescue.

Emma Katie Trumpower, 94, fell from a four-foot ladder and broke her hip while she was outside washing the windows on her Sharpsburg Pike home on Aug. 31.

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An off-duty state trooper saw her fall and went to her aid, calling 911 and waiting with her until an ambulance arrived.


Trumpower underwent a hip replacement and spent 12 days in the hospital. As she recuperated, she realized she did not know the name of the good Samaritan, who had told her only that he was an off-duty state trooper.

A story about Trumpower's search for the man she called "an angel from heaven" ran in the Sept. 30 editions of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail. In the story, Trumpower said she wanted to thank the trooper for his help.

The next day, Trooper Wayne Smith, who read the story in the paper, called her.

Trumpower got her chance to thank the Smithsburg native on Thursday afternoon when the two met at her home.

Smith said he did nothing extraordinary.

"It wasn't anything. I'm just glad to be of help to her," he said.

"He was a godsend," Trumpower said. "He's a nice person, he deserves anything good that comes to him."

"I was really happy to see her. It was a joy to talk to her. Her mind is sharp," said Smith, who has been a trooper for 16 years.

On the day Trumpower fell, Smith was eating lunch with his wife Candy and son Jared, 5, at a Burger King restaurant. He happened to glance out the window and saw Trumpower fall from the four-foot ladder.

"At first I waited, because sometimes when things like this happen it's not as serious as you think. They get embarrassed when you make a big deal about it," he said.

After a few minutes, Smith said, he could tell Trumpower could not get up on her own and went to her aid.

Trained in emergency first aid, Smith surmised that Trumpower had broken her hip and shouldn't be moved from the lawn.

Smith went inside Trumpower's house and called 911 and Trumpower's brother-in-law, Donald.

"Naturally, when something like this happens, you get shaken up. I just tried to figure out how bad she was hurt. I tried to keep her calm" and keep her from moving while they waited for help to arrive, he said.

"She's tough, she wasn't crying. She was more mad at herself than anything," he said.

The Funkstown ambulance crew was the first to arrive.

At Trumpower's request, Smith went inside the home to retrieve her medicine.

"I was very impressed with Funkstown. When I went back inside, one of them followed me and watched what I was doing to protect her from possible theft," said Smith, who had not identified himself to the rescue workers.

He did not even tell Trumpower his name, mentioning only that he was with the state police.

"I didn't want to scare her," he said.

As for Trumpower, she went through physical therapy after hip surgery and can walk most of the time without a cane.

Smith said he was touched that Trumpower wanted to thank him for his help.

"It's sort of routine for police to get involved in situations like this. People think it's part of your job. What is uncommon is for someone to say thank you," he said.

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