That Others Might Live


Dr. Erik Hess is a close friend and Heart of a Warrior Alum.  He is an accomplished emergency medical doctor, a clinical researcher, a professor and sought after speaker.  I have had the privilege of personally observing his growth in the Lord.  In the near future, he will be establishing a beachhead for Heart of a Warrior Ministries in Birmingham Alabama.  The article that follows was writen by Dr. Hess and is 'must' reading.  It shows how he has integrated his faith in his chosen vocation.

When I was visiting the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO with my family in the summer of 2017, I came across this memorial.  To give some context, it is located in a large courtyard, flanked by the Air Force Chapel (on the right; not seen) and the Center for Character and Leadership Development (pyramid-shaped structure in the background of the picture).  As I read the inscription, I felt intense emotions of devotion, sacrifice and purpose well up within me and began to weep.  The following words are etched in the stone.

“Detachments were deployed worldwide at US Airforce Bases with call signs such as “Firebird,” “Rescue 1” and “PEDRO.” The HH-43 helicopter and its air and ground crew maintained an alert status to aid aircrews who were downed, some in burning aircraft.  At the sound of an alarm the aircrew would be airborne within 2 minutes, hook up a special fire suppression kit (FSK), which could produce 690 gallons of foam.  This would allow the fire fighters to remove the aircrews from a burning aircraft.  For a downed air crew, the HH-43 alert crew would coordinate with headquarters or King Bird, then would depart on a set heading to make a pickup or recovery.

The motto of the aerospace rescue and recovery service is,


Although I have never had the honor of serving in the armed forces, my heart resonates with this call in several ways.  There are layers of meaning of this phrase has for me, much like peeling back layers of an onion until one reaches the core.   

As an emergency physician, the care we provide patients each day requires a rapid, efficient, coordinated team effort to meet patients where they are, often at a point of great need.  Training for and providing this care day in and day out often comes at great personal cost, but is a cause worth the sacrifice. 

As a clinical researcher, I aim to collaboratively discover how best to treat each patient with dignity and respect, seeking to both cure disease and care for the person, so that, somehow, together, we discover how to lift up the human condition.

As a husband and father, I aim to live in such a way that my wife and family flourish, that they feel appreciated for their uniqueness and encouraged and challenged to grow, and that, with ever increasing intimacy, they walk with their Creator, obediently follow His lead, and discover and live out the purpose for which they were created.

As a friend, I aim to come along side, serve, and experience the joy that comes from sharing life together and growing closer to one another on our life journey.

As a loyal follower and devoted servant, I seek to obey and please the one who sacrificed His life for mine, so that others may experience forgiveness and the new life I have received.

The core of my satisfaction, purpose, and joy comes from daily, authentic communion with Jesus, and, with complete devotion and all out abandon, seeking to please Him as the “audience of one,” the one who will take me to vistas I have never seen, to mountains I have never climbed, and provide meaningful work to do to advance His kingdom.  Why?  For what purpose?


Erik P. Hess MD MSc

Professor and Vice Chair for Research

Department of Emergency Medicine

UAB Medicine | The University of Alabama at Birmingham

OHB 251 | 619 South 19th Street | Birmingham Alabama 35249

205-975-7866 |