Doctor saves Airman's life and the Airman changes his

12:05 AM, May 13, 2013   |    comments
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By Mike Bush

St. Louis (KSDK)-If you haven't seen Scott Farber and John Berger running in Forest Park, you haven't been in Forest Park lately.

"We train about 14 to 20 hours a week, " says Berger.

They are two friends with a single purpose. Though their finish line is almost 5,000 miles away what's more important to them is how far they've already come.

John Berger is a captain with the Air Force and a part of
Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base. He's seen time in both Iraq and Afghanistan piloting the big C-17 cargo planes under dangerous conditions.

"You're nervous, " he says. "But we do so much training and everybody is so good at their jobs that it really kind of puts you at ease."

Dr. Scott Farber is in the graduate stage of his training. He's a plastic surgery resident at Barnes-Jewish Hospital where long shifts and long weeks are the norm.

"That's been my motto all life, " he says. "My whole life is just putting in a lot of hard work."

Both men were going down separate roads until fate constructed an intersection.
"I took two steps out into the crosswalk, " remembers Capt. Berger. "And out of the corner of my eye I just saw headlights and that's the last thing I remember."

Almost a year ago, at the corner of Washington and Kingshighway, Capt. Berger was the victim of a hit and run.

He had suffered a broken pelvis, broken hip, broken ribs and internal damage. He was rushed to Barnes where Dr. Farber was the resident on call

"His injuries were bad enough, " Dr. Farber recalled, "that had we not operated he wouldn't have survived."

It was the next day that Dr. Farber went to check on his patient in ICU and then checked his chart.

"And I saw his name, his birthday and I realized that his address was the exact same one as mine, " said Farber.

It turned out that the two men lived in the same building just one floor apart and they had something else in common. Before veering off to medicine, Dr. Farber wanted to be a pilot.

"So he knows more about all the old planes than I know, " laughed Berger.

They quickly became more than just doctor and patient they became friends.
It was sometime during rehab that Captain Berger, who had always been a runner, decided that he needed the prove something to all the doctors and nurses who took care of him. By the one year anniversary of the accident he wanted to take a victory lap of sorts.

"So in a way ,"he says, "it's kind of a thank you to them."

Capt. Berger decided that he would compete in the truest test of strength and endurance, an Ironman Triathlon and he asked Dr. Farber if he'd like to join him.

"He kind of looked at me and said no way, I'm not doing that, " Berger chuckled.

" Well, I talked about it with some friends and people said you can't do it, " recalled Farber. " And the easiest way to get me to do something is to say I can't do it."

Next month, Scott Farber and John Berger leave for Nice, France where they will compete in Ironman France.

"It's not the location, it's the date. It's almost exactly a year to the date that he got hit."

Some journeys are not about the destination but the people you meet along the way. While one man's life was saved, another was changed.

"I certainly couldn't have gotten this far and couldn't have done anything without him, " says Berger
"Just overcoming his adversity and he's shown me that if he can do it, I can do it, " says Farber.

A chance friendship going the distance while also feeling right at home.

If you would like to learn more about their journey and how you can help them support the Wounded Warrior project-here are the links-


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