Last month marked 26 years since the life of Robert “Bobby” Glasco drastically changed.
April 22, 1988, the 20-year-old did not know a trip to the local grocery store would end with him in the hospital after a passing train severed his legs.
“It was one of those days where anything could happen and it did,” Glasco said.
That day, he took a break from working the presses at the Herald-Progress to grab a bite to eat at Cross Bros. Grocery on Railroad Avenue. After leaving the store, he noticed a train going through the town and walked two steps forward toward the street.
But what happened next, no one expected, especially Glasco.
He believes a force from the train pulled him underneath of it, where he was stuck on the tracks.
After understanding and accepting what had just happened, Glasco said he realized there was no time to panic.
He had to figure out an escape route to save his life.
“I was faced down and the train was rolling over me and it had already cut my legs in half,” he said.
So, on the tracks, Glasco decided to count the “ repetition between the steel rear wheels” and the rail. That way, he could figure out a good time to break away from underneath
One, two, three. One, two, three.
“Ready, set, go,” Glasco remember telling himself that day in 1988.
He was finally able to pull the strength together and pushed himself out from under the train. Glasco received help from local police and medics and was transported to a medical center.
But the strength to escape a close call didn’t just come from inside Glasco. He said he felt the support of the Ashland community and from up above.
“They was with me,” he said. “I felt like everybody in that community in Ashland was the reason why I’m still alive right to this day.”
Glasco grew up in Ashland and lived there until almost a year after the accident. Right after the incident, he went through rehabilitation for about four months. Then in after about six to eight months, the young man could walk with his new prosthetic limbs.
And almost as soon as Glasco could take just a few steps, he left Ashland and went directly to the West Coast.
Now 46-year-old Glasco lives in Auburn, Wash.
“I had the opportunity to come to the West Coast and go to Job Corps,” he said.
Glasco was certified in “basic electronics” and graduated with a GED.
He believes the incident over two decades ago helped give him the motivation to get his life started.
“I would tell anybody who is going through something or has been through something: never give up [and] always believe in yourself,” Glasco said.
Though it does not define who he is, it has changed his perspective on life and helped shape the person he is today.
“It made me match my actions with my words,” Glasco said. “It makes you a complete person, really.”