PARRISH, Fla. — For what many have hailed as a quick, heroic action that saved a life, a local Amazon delivery driver received a special honor.
Longtime Manatee County resident Darrell Woodie was among several guests who were invited to attend this week's State Of The Union Address in Washington D.C.
It's a chance encounter some have attributed to luck or coincidence while others have said it was a sheer miracle that Woodie happened to be right there when Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) fell from the roof of his house last month.
"It's not an easy thing to try to relive all that action, but Greg told me that he was going to send me to Washington and I was extremely happy about that," Woodie said.
Woodie who fought back tears as he retold the story. He still gets emotional thinking about the events of that day.
According to him, when he reported for work on Jan. 18, the first sign that he wasn't going to have a normal day started with his Amazon route sheet.
"It was totally backward, and if I would've been coming from the other way, I wouldn't have not even seen it," Woodie explained. "I was coming from a way that I had never come before so that was a little bit odd."
As he did his package drop off at Steube's house, Woodie said he first heard the noise of a chainsaw followed by a thump.
"As he's falling, I'm at the gate didn't know it was particularly him, I know that the eye contact was made, and that's when I said that looks like Steube," he said.
Steube had fallen more than 25 feet and sustained serious injuries including a fractured pelvis, a punctured lung, and torn ligaments in his neck.
Not only did Woodie scale the fence to get to him, but he also called 911 and waited for Steube's wife who was inside their home, on a conference call and unaware of the accident that had happened outside.
"His wife said that it was a miracle and I have heard people use the words like 'you're a hero, you saved his life,' you know and I kind of tell people 'don't put the attention on me,'" Woodie said. "It was from the help of God, you know, through the Holy Spirit that had me there. Someone at Amazon put in the routing a whole different way so it was just a guardian angel. I had to be there and only God could have done it."
Both men are people of faith and credit divine intervention for allowing their paths to intersect in an unlikely way that day, which the congressman said saved his life.
"If the truck would've been flipped around, he never would've heard me fall, he wouldn't have seen the incident occur and just would've gone about his day doing his job," Steube said. "So everything was laid out exactly the way the Holy Spirit wanted it so that he could be in the right place at the right time."
"I would have been laying there for hours and Lord knows what other injuries would have been magnified because of not getting the treatment that I needed when I needed it," he added.
Steube, who's still in recovery, found an opportunity to honor Woodie by sending him to Washington D.C. to be a congressman for a day and to be his special guest, taking his place at the State Of The Union address.
Woodie got to meet several dignitaries including the Speaker of the House and several members of Congress like Rep. Vern Buchannan and Jim Jordan.
"I got to see the president, the vice president as you know and I could've done more but I was just too exhausted," Woodie said.
For the Steube family, Woodie is now not just their regular neighborhood Amazon delivery guy, but a part of the family and a friend.
"I just want to thank Woodie for being obedient to the Holy Spirit, and being obedient to God's word by being at the place that he was appointed to be at that time and doing the things he needed to do to save me and get the help that I needed at the time that I needed it," Steube said.
Woodie also serves as a part-time field representative for Rep. Buchanan and graduated from Manatee High School.