ATLANTA — A walk in the park nearly turned deadly for James W. Kennedy.
Kennedy fell head-first onto an asphalt walkway at Lenox Park near Buckhead the night of Sept. 24. The 70-year-old severed his temporal artery, which runs along both temples, and was bleeding heavily.
Before the ambulance arrived, a man and a woman ran over. The man took off his shirt and the woman used the shirt to apply pressure to Kennedy's head wound.
Doctors told Kennedy the pair saved his life. Kennedy told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he has a "burning desire" to find and thank them both, but all he has is a picture of the woman taken as she was helping him.
A DeKalb County Fire Department engine and an ambulance rushed Kennedy to Atlanta Medical Center, but neither agency had a record of the couple's identity.
"I would have died at Lenox Park, if it were not for the immediate actions of John and Jane Doe," Kennedy said.
He and his wife were staying the night at a nearby hotel on day three of their 25-day roadtrip to Arizona for his wife's 50th high school reunion.
Kennedy is recovering at his home near Cocoa Beach, Florida — which is part of the "Countdown Coast," earning the name from all the aerospace industry at and around Cape Canaveral. Kennedy is part of that legacy.
He was the director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center (no relation), which has launched many NASA aircraft into space and now serves as a hub for commercial space flight.
Kennedy took over the Center in June 2003, four months after the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated and killed all seven crew members.
In the director role, he oversaw 15,000 government and contract employees, according to the 2006 announcement of his retirement.
Before he was director, Kennedy was called to active duty with the Air Force after getting an undergraduate degree from Auburn University in 1972, according to an online NASA biography. He went on to get a masters from Georgia Southern University in 1977.
He's sent many people into space, but Kennedy is hoping his message to the pair that saved his life won't just go into the ether: "Thank you to two good Samaritans, my guardian angels, for their support to a fellow American in his time of need."
Anyone who knows the identity of the pair can email the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org, who will connect them with Kennedy.
Cox Media Group