MADISON, Wis. — Two Madison women share a special bond and got the chance to reconnect after 22 years apart.
In June of 1999, Robin Kerl was shopping with her fiance when they were shot by her ex-boyfriend. Kerl's fiance died, but she was picked up by a UW Health Med Flight helicopter.
Kim Maerz was the flight nurse on board, as well as being an emergency medicine physician. She and the staff on the med flight saved Kerl's life. She went on to regain her abilities to walk and talk while Maerz continued working as a nurse and saving lives.
Recently the pair got the chance to meet again at a Med Flight helicopter base at University Hospital.
"It's been 22 years, and I truly didn't think she was going to make it," says Maerz. "I can't believe she's walking, talking, communicating and participating; the power of the human being and the will to live is Robin all over."
Their reunion was a chance encounter. Maerz's son dates an employee at the gym where Kerl works out and noticed her wearing a Med Flight shirt. Maerz's son's girlfriend sent an email to Maerz to see if they could arrange a meeting.
"The day I opened that email and it was Robin, I became very tearful," says Maerz. "It was one of the warmest days of my career."
"It feels so nice to finally meet Kim, the person who saved my life," says Kerl. "It's such a blessing, she's helped me in my recovery and I thank her so much for all her help that day."