Did you know that Ryan Stevenson, singer of the hit song, “Eye of the Storm,” actually used to be a paramedic? He said the job was rewarding but also very hard due to the conditions you see people in every day. However, one near-death experience changed the patient and Ryan’s life forever.
Ryan Stevenson: First of all, being a paramedic, that job changed my life so much, so quickly. It just woke me up so fast, and it just it shifted every perspective that I had. I thought just my paradigms of judging people, and it made me a lot more gracious and a lot more tender.
And fast forward, I started playing guitar when I was 18. My dream was to someday do music full-time. I had no idea how that would ever work or if I would ever be able to do that. But I was playing local acoustic open mic nights and coffee shops around our city and working as a paramedic full-time, 48 hours a week.
I was getting pretty burned out.
I was seven years into my paramedic career. And I was liking it. It was great job, but I really had this itching to start playing music again.
PARAMEDIC, RYAN STEVENSON RESPONDING TO THE 991 CALL
Well, I ended up responding to a 911 where a 39-year-old female got struck by lightning. The dispatch call came out as a lightning strike. Code blue, which means the patient is not breathing. So we would get there and she’s dead upon our arrival. And she was out hiking with her mom and her two little boys.
I knew she wasn’t going to make it. So I just tell my team to load her in the ambulance and I will work on her on the way to the hospital. In the back of the ambulance, I put a tube in her lungs, and started breathing for her. We started doing really great CPR. I got a couple of IVs going.
And we revived her!
GOD’S PLAN UNFOLDING
She made a full recovery. Fast forwarding again, months later after she got out of rehab, she got connected with me and found out that I was a local musician, who was also a paramedic. But in my off time, I was playing little gigs around town. And the more she got to know me, the more she just… she loved me and there was…
And I want to just make note that her and I are very different. We are politically and spiritually on opposite sides of the planet, but she just loved me. And when you intervene in somebody’s life like that, to that degree, you end up having this kind of kindred connection with them. So she just said, “Ryan, I want to be there for you. If you ever need me, I want to help you.”
And I said, “Well, I have this opportunity to go into a recording studio to make a demo.” Because I’ve been writing songs for 12 years, since college, since I got my first guitar!
She got a retroactive disability check in the mail from her lightning strike and it was in the exact amount that I needed to get into the doors of the studio.
And she’s like, “I know what that check is for.”
So she sent me off with that check and I recorded five songs. I had 50 songs and I recorded five! And that batch of music that she helped me… that she funded essentially ultimately led me down the path of getting a recording deal and brushing shoulders with the guy named TobyMac. And the rest is just kind of history.
It’s been a wild, crazy, wonderful journey since then. I get asked that question all the time, “How’d you stop being a paramedic and going to full-time Christian music?” I’m like, “Well, that’s going to take a minute. But in a nutshell, it was unbelievable.”
WHERE IS SHE NOW?
Justin: And I just saw on Instagram where you posted that she showed up to one of your shows recently, like last month.
Ryan Stevenson: Well, that’s an older picture, but we were playing out in Boise, Idaho where I was a paramedic, where I responded to her call. And she’s doing great, and she’s my biggest fan still to this day.
I mean, she texts me a bunch, but every year on the anniversary of her lightning strike, she always texts me, “Thank you.”
So I invited her. I was like, “Hey, I’m playing at the Taco Bell Arena tonight with TobyMac. Do you want to come?”
And she’s like, “I’d love to.” So she came and I showed her all around the arena. I got her awesome seats right down there by me. Then seeing her and Toby connect. I grew up on DC Talk and they were massive inspirations in my life.
And to be working with Toby 25 years later after I’m out of junior high, and then her intervening in my life, it’s like these two pinnacle people in my life meeting each other was so special to me to see, Toby and her and me together at this environment on a hits deep, massive, sold-out arena show, and we’re all just… It was emotional, man.